The attorney for two former employees of Michael Jackson said his clients will not make a plea deal with Santa Barbara County prosecutor Thomas Sneddon if they are indicted as co-conspirators who allegedly helped the star to commit abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Although the names of the alleged co-conspirators were not released to the public, the charges in the indictment are believed to involve an attempt to intimidate Jackson’s accuser and his family and hold them captive at Neverland, the Associated Press reports.
New York attorney Joseph Tacopina says he believes from news reports and conversations with law enforcement officials that his clients, Frank Tyson and Vince Amen – who both declined invitations to speak to the grand jury – may be among those facing indictments.
“They didn’t do anything wrong,” Tacopina tells AP. “I just don’t believe this is an open-minded sort of prosecution.”
Tacopina says he believes Tyson, 23, who was Jackson’s personal assistant, may face prosecution for threatening to kill the younger brother of Jackson’s alleged victim if the boy revealed to authorities that Jackson had given his brother alcohol.
Amen, 24, who worked for Jackson’s production company, may be accused of holding the family at Jackson’s Neverland estate against their will, says the lawyer, adding that he would not make his clients available for comment.
Jackson, 45, pleaded not guilty on April 30 to charges of conspiring to commit child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment in a 10-count indictment handed down by a Santa Barbara County grand jury in California. He also stands accused of committing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 and plying the boy with an intoxicating substance (believed to be wine).