Attorneys for Michael Jackson's in court, arguing trial delay until mid-March

Monday, December 20th 2004, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) _ Michael Jackson's lawyers went to court Monday to seek a six-week delay in his child molestation trial, saying they need the extra time to sort through 14,000 pages of evidence filed by prosecutors over the past two months.

Prosecutors had been expected to argue Monday that they should be allowed to present at Jackson's trial evidence of wrongdoing in the entertainer's past. But according to a court calendar released Monday, that motion won't be brought up until next month.

In another motion made public last week, Jackson's attorneys asked that the trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 31, be delayed until mid-March. That motion is to be argued at Monday's hearing.

Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a boy, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to his alleged victim. The entertainer _ who on Friday personally greeted a group of children touring his Neverland Ranch before the Christmas holidays _ was not required to attend this week's hearings.

They also asked that the charges against Jackson be dismissed on grounds of ``vindictive prosecution and outrageous government conduct,'' pointing to the execution of more than 100 search warrants including this month's unusual raid on Jackson's estate near Los Olivos. Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville previously rejected a similar defense effort that sought removal of District Attorney Tom Sneddon.

Hearings on pretrial motions were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

The prosecution motion that is now to be argued next month asks the judge to allow evidence that Jackson has committed other sex crimes over the years that went uncharged, such as a 1993 molestation case that was settled out of court.

Prosecutors said in their filing that the evidence will demonstrate Jackson's ``propensity'' for such crimes, his motive and intent, and show how he ``created the opportunities to achieve his goal.''