Jackson Lawyers Seek 4-Month Trial Delay

Jackson Lawyers Seek 4-Month Trial Delay
Michael Jackson
Robert Galbraith/Reuters/Landov

updated 07/27/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/27/2004 08:00AM

Seeking to slow the start of the trial, Michael Jackson's lawyers have come out slugging, attacking the investigation of the star on child molestation charges and likening the work of prosecutors to an ambush, according to a recently filed motion.

"The scope of the prosecution's investigation is breathtaking," the legal papers state. "This is not a usual criminal investigation. It is an effort to take down a major celebrity."

As defense attorney Steve Cochran told the judge: "The expenditure of resources by the prosecution is unprecedented and extravagant."

The document also requests that Jackson's trial, scheduled to begin Sept. 13, instead be delayed four months, until early next year, reports the Associated Press.

The strongly worded motion was actually filed on July 13 but kept sealed by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville until Monday, the day before its contents were to be discussed at a hearing.

In their reply to the motion, prosecutors said that a "reasonable" delay was acceptable but that four months was too long.

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

In other news of the case, the Smoking Gun reports that a woman who once worked as a spokesperson for Jackson was the key prosecution witness at the Santa Barbara grand jury session earlier this year.

Ann Gabriel, 43, of Las Vegas, told the grand jury about Jackson's finances and "crisis management" style after the airing of British TV journalist Martin Bashir's controversial documentary Living with Michael Jackson, according to papers posted on the Smoking Gun Web site.

The defense says that Gabriel's testimony for District Attorney Thomas Sneddon was given "in an attempt to establish economic loss" and to tarnish Jackson's image – and thereby supporting the prosecution's claim that the star entered into a criminal conspiracy plot because of desperation.

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