December 06, 2004 08:00 AM

Michael Jackson had to offer up a DNA swab from his mouth to investigators on Saturday, one day after authorities raided his Neverland Ranch armed with cameras and tape measures to create exhibits for his upcoming trial on child-molestation charges.

Jackson, 46, was accompanied by his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, at the time the swab was taken, the Associated Press reports. Legal observers note that it’s unusual for a DNA sample to be taken so late in the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s case against Jackson – unless new evidence is only now coming to light.

As for Friday’s raid on Neverland, Sgt. Chris Pappas, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff, confirmed the mission but did not offer details on what authorities were searching for. The case remains under a gag order for all concerned.

Neverland was first searched by at least 60 investigators on Nov. 18, 2003.

Friday’s search warrant was served at 9 a.m. and authorities remained at the multimillion-dollar property, which includes a zoo and amusement park rides, until late morning.

Jackson and this three children – Prince Michael, 7; Paris, 6; and Prince Michael II (nicknamed Blanket), 2 – were all said to be at Neverland at the time of the search.

Jackson, who has pleaded not guilty, has been charged with child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to the alleged victim, a 13-year-old cancer patient. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31, 2005.

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