Santa Barbara's sheriff comments after his staff is cleared of manhandling Michael

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August 25, 2004 08:00 AM

The Santa Barbara County sheriff says he’s been vindicated by a state attorney general’s report that found no evidence that his staff manhandled Michael Jackson during his Nov. 20 arrest on child molestation charges – as the star had claimed on 60 Minutes.

At a press conference Tuesday, Sheriff Jim Anderson, who had called for an investigation after Jackson’s claim, said: “After interviewing 163 witnesses and expending in excess of 2,500 investigative hours, the California Bureau of Investigation determined that Mr. Jackson was not injured at the hands of Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department personnel.”

Anderson added: “The findings of the attorney general’s investigation have provided a clear vindication of our personnel who were involved in the arrest and booking of Mr. Jackson.” The findings had been leaked to the press last week.

Anderson declined to say whether he intends to charge Jackson with making false claims. “I’m under court order not to take questions,” he said.

Jackson’s lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., said during a pre-trial hearing last week that his client never made a formal complaint about his treatment or requested an investigation, although he had bruises and received medical treatment, reports the Associated Press.

Jackson, 45, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 31. He has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He remains free on $3 million bail.

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