District Attorney: Jacko May Flee Country

05/24/2004 at 09:15 AM EDT

District Attorney: Jacko May Flee Country
Pool/ABACA
Prosecutors in Michael Jackson's child-molestation case are opposing a move by the Gloved One to reduce his $3 million bail, arguing that he may be planning to flee the country.

According to a motion obtained by media lawyers on Sunday, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon's office is insisting that Jackson's immense wealth requires at least $3 million bail to ensure he will appear for trial and, if convicted, would be prepared to serve a lengthy prison sentence, the Associated Press reports.

"The temptation to flee must surely be strong for an individual in defendant's circumstances," said the motion. "To suppose otherwise would be to blink reality."

Lawyers for Jackson could not be reached for comment.

The prosecution motion, written by Deputy District Attorney Gerald McC. Franklin, envisioned Jackson living out the rest of his life as "a wealthy absconder" rather than facing a life term in prison, AP reports.

The document included a footnote alluding to the case of Andrew Luster, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune who fled from California to Mexico during his rape prosecution "notwithstanding his $1 million bail bond." (Luster ultimately was captured in Mexico.)

The legal document concedes that the county bail schedule calls for a potential maximum bail of $435,000 for the child molestation and conspiracy charges against Jackson. But prosecutors argue that the 45-year-old "international celebrity" is no ordinary defendant and, therefore, the bail schedule should not apply to him.

"The people mean no disrespect by the following, but Michael Joe Jackson's situation is truly unique," says the document. "By all accounts, defendant is well-to-do."

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