05/28/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT
Michael Jackson's attorneys are due to appear before Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville on Friday, and they are expected to ask for a reduction in the star's $3 million bail – despite the prosecutors' belief that he poses a flight risk if faced with a conviction on child molestation charges.
"As the day of trial approaches and Mr. Jackson makes a hard-headed assessment of his chances for an acquittal and ponders the unhappy but inevitable consequences of a conviction, he may well conclude that life as a wealthy absconder ... is preferable to what might amount to a life term in a California prison," prosecutors said in court papers, according to Reuters.
Countering that claim, Jackson's attorneys say their client, who was indicted by a grand jury last month, neither intends to flee nor is a danger to the community. They are asking that his bail be set at the same level that any other ordinary citizen would receive.
Jackson, 45, is not expected to appear in court Friday, reportedly with the blessing of Judge Melville.
The jurist, who wants the trial to begin before the end of the year, also is expected to set a tentative start date for the proceedings.
The musician is charged with lewd acts on a young boy as well as conspiracy to abduct a child, extortion and false imprisonment. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges during a subdued court appearance in April, and his lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau, has vowed to see him vindicated.