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  1. #1
    Phero Pharaoh
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    Default YIKES! Another O.J.- style circus!


    to Appear in California Court Amid Frenzy
    Fri Jan 16, 2:58 AM ET Add Entertainment - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Dan Whitcomb

    SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Reuters) - Michael Jackson (news) will plead not guilty to child

    molestation charges on Friday, his lead attorney said, amid a growing frenzy over the pop star\'s first court

    appearance in a case that could leave his remarkable career in ruins and send him to prison for years.



    Slideshow: Michael Jackson

    High-profile Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos also

    said Jackson had asked New York-based criminal lawyer Ben Brafman to join his legal team.

    \"Michael and I

    agreed that expanding the team would best serve his interests as we work toward his acquittal on the false charges

    that have been leveled against him,\" Geragos, who is also busy representing accused wife-killer Scott Peterson

    (news - web sites), said in a statement.

    Brafman is best-known for having won an acquittal on weapons and

    bribery charges for rap mogul Sean \"P. Diddy\" Combs, and will be one of at least four lawyers to stand beside

    Jackson during his arraignment.

    Geragos, Jackson civil attorney Steve Cochran and a partner were also expected

    to attend court in Santa Maria, a central California town not far from the 45-year-old entertainer\'s Neverland

    Valley Ranch.

    The reclusive pop star, who is charged with seven counts of committing lewd acts on a boy under

    the age of 14 and two counts of plying him with alcohol in order to molest him, also must attend the arraignment.

    He is expected to face a preliminary hearing on the charges later this year that could lead to a trial.

    Jackson, who could face nearly two decades in prison if he is convicted at a trial, survived a similar brush

    with the law 10 years ago after making a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement with the family of a teenage


    Though the arraignment is largely a formality and only the first step in a long legal process, hundreds

    of reporters from news organizations around the world descended on Santa Maria for the proceedings.



    Santa Maria officials spent more than a week trying to decide which reporters would get a

    coveted seat in the relatively small courtroom and in an overflow room nearby, then handed out special access badges

    to those chosen.

    City officials, citing extra security costs, charged journalists $250 each for normally free

    parking at the courthouse and Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, who repeatedly rejected requests for cameras in

    the courtroom, also banned cell phones.

    Despite the high prices, the small courthouse was surrounded by a sea

    of satellite trucks and news vans.

    In addition to the arraignment, judge Melville also may consider a request

    by news organizations to view search warrants prepared for a raid on Neverland that have been kept under seal.

    Geragos has asked that Jackson\'s defense be allowed to study them before they are made public.

    Also headed

    for Santa Maria, which is best known for agriculture and wineries, was a \"caravan of love\" organized by Los

    Angeles-based civil rights leaders, who say they want to lend support to Jackson and protest against Santa Barbara

    County District Attorney Tom Sneddon.

    The caravan stopped in Santa Barbara, between Los Angeles and Santa

    Maria, to demonstrate outside the offices of Sneddon, who has been portrayed in the press as Jackson\'s nemesis.

    In November, Jackson set up a Web site calling the current charges a \"big lie,\" while Geragos has

    suggested that Sneddon was acting out of spite and Jackson\'s accuser and his family were seeking money.

  2. #2
    Moderator belgareth's Avatar
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    Default Re: YIKES! Another O.J.- style circus!

    And the end result will probably be as equivocal. It does not seem likely that justice will be served whether he is

    innocent or guilty.

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