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Grand jury indicts Michael Jackson
Updated: 2004-04-22 15:43

Pop star Michael Jackson was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury probing allegations that he molested a 12-year-old boy.

A California grand jury investigating child molestation accusations against Michael Jackson indicted the pop star on April 21, 2004, television networks ABC, NBC and CNN reported. A Santa Barbara County court spokesman said he could not confirm the indictment of Jackson, who has already been charged with molesting a young boy. The grand jury has met for about two weeks in Santa Barbara under extraordinary secrecy. Jackson is shown in this file photo taken in Washington D.C. on March 30, 2004. [Reuters]
The charges on which Jackson was indicted were not disclosed. Grand jury indictments are usually secret until a defendant is arraigned.

Jackson's attorneys said that he would plead not guilty on April 30 when he is arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

There is still no trial date set.

Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, issued a statement on behalf of Jackson's attorneys saying the singer will plead not guilty during his scheduled April 30 arraignment if the grand jury issues an indictment. The statement did not confirm that an indictment has been handed down.

The singer and his attorneys "are confident that after a trial ... Jackson will be fully exonerated," the statement read. "Michael is looking forward to his day in court."

Bain added in an interview that "nothing has been issued from the court which indicates that there is an indictment."

"In the next few days, as the dust settles, things will get clearer," she said Wednesday night. She said she had spoken with Jackson on Wednesday and that "he is out and about."

The district attorney's office also would not comment about the indictment.

"This probably is a court matter, to be able to give the information out, not the district attorney's office," said Susan Tellem of Tellem Worldwide, hired to handle media inquiries for District Attorney Tom Sneddon in the case. "There's a gag order ... and that means the district attorney really can't speak."

Tellem said court administrator Gary Blair would determine when the court would officially release any information about the grand jury. Messages left at Blair's office were not immediately returned.

In determining whether there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial, Sneddon chose to present evidence to the closed grand jury, rather than at a preliminary hearing, which would be open to the public. The grand jury has spent the last three weeks hearing from witnesses, including the 14-year-old boy who claims the pop superstar sexually abused him.

The self-styled "King of Pop" was charged last December and pleaded not guilty to seven counts of molesting a child under the age of 14. He also was charged with two counts of plying the boy with "an intoxicating agent" to make it easier to carry out the assaults. Sources close to the family have said the agent was wine.

The molestation charges each carry between three and eight years in prison.

Wednesday's grand jury indictment supersedes the criminal case, which means prosecutors can skip a preliminary hearing and go straight to trial.

Jackson has been free on $3 million bail since turning himself in Nov. 20. He has made few public appearances since the Santa Barbara district attorney brought the charges against him, but most recently turned up on Capitol Hill last month to promote helping African AIDS victims.

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