News organizations petition the judge to release transcripts from the Jackson grand jury

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 19, 2004 03:00 PM
Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Lawyers for a coalition of news organizations have petitioned the judge in the Michael Jackson case to release the Santa Barbara County grand jury indictment against the pop star.

The lawyers also are asking the judge to unseal transcripts from 13 days of grand jury testimony that led to the indictment, reports the Associated Press, which is one of the news services involved in the legal action.

Citing decades of court precedent, attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. argued that indictments can be sealed only under extraordinary circumstances – “such as the need to protect the lives of witnesses, to ensure the defendant or other potential targets did not flee, or the need to protect innocent persons from injury” – none of which have been part of the Jackson case.

The indictment against Jackson, 45, includes a conspiracy count, four counts of lewd acts involving a minor child, one count involving an attempted lewd act upon a child and four counts of administering an intoxicating agent to assist in the committing of a felony.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In other news of the embattled star, the Smoking Gun Web site reports that he has recently completed a refinancing deal that will allow him to borrow an additional $12 million on an already $6 million Bank of America credit line, with his Neverland Ranch used as collateral.

While Jackson’s financial picture has been painted as bleak, Jackson lawyer Brian Oxman said in a statement about the new Bank of America loan: “You don’t expand credit lines to people when they’re in trouble.”