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The DA in the Michael Jackson Case

Michael Jackson's response to the arrest warrant issued for him based on new child molestation charges is here.

Tom Sneddon, the District Attorney in Santa Barbara in charge of the new Michael Jackson case, was also in charge of the 1993 case. Today he said "he had put the earlier case out of mind." We don't think that's true. Here's a sampling of what our Lexis research turned up (out of 100 entries for "Tom Sneddon" and "Michael Jackson" between 1994 and 2001.)

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) March 7, 2001

"Heal The Kids" was described as an image-building deception by Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon, who prosecuted the singer for alleged child molestation in 1993. Jackson avoided trial by paying the family of his 13-year-old accuser around $20 million. Sneddon recently warned the case could be reopened at any time.

Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) February 16, 2001

In a twist on the eve of his launching appeal [for a children's charity program], the district attorney who brought the case said it was not closed. "The case against Michael Jackson was never closed, and he was never exonerated," said DA Tom Sneddon. "It's in suspended animation and can be reopened at any time."

Broadcast News (BN) February 15, 2001

Remember the child molestation charges levelled against Michael Jackson a few years ago? So does the district attorney in Santa Barbara, California, Tom Sneddon. He's the one who investigated Jackson in 1993 when a then-13-year-old boy claimed Jackson molested him. Jackson later settled with the family and was never charged by authorities.

Sneddon tells the New York Daily News the case against Jackson was never closed and it can be re-opened at any time. He says the statute of limitations hasn't run out because Jackson was living out of the country for so much time.

Daily News (New York) February 14, 2001

Michael Jackson is not out of the woods.

So says Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the man who brought child molestation charges against the singer in 1993. Jackson is scheduled to deliver a speech tonight at Carnegie Hall on behalf of his Heal the Kids initiative. Although Sneddon can't be there in person, he's definitely arching an eyebrow from 3,000 miles away.

"The case against Michael Jackson was never closed, and he was never exonerated," Sneddon says. "It's in suspended animation and can be reopened at any time."

The Advertiser January 27, 1996

"But the reality is, no matter what he does, he can't escape the fact that he paid out millions of dollars to prevent a 13-year-old boy from testifying against him in court," says Santa Barbara District-Attorney Tom Sneddon, who originally investigated claims Jackson had molested the boy at his Neverland ranch.

Charges against Jackson were dropped when the boy refused to testify. But Mr Sneddon says, contrary to popular belief, it would be "inaccurate" to say Jackson was cleared of all charges. "The state of the investigation is in suspension until somebody comes forward and testifies," he says.

The New York Beacon August 23, 1995

Magazine: Michael Jackson Lied To Interviewer Diane Sawyer.

Michael Jackson lied to Diane Sawyer about his relationship with young boys and withheld information about a pending civil action, Vanity Fair reported.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon told the magazine that Jackson has not been "cleared" of sexual involvement with two boys, as Sawyer said
during his interview of Jackson on ABC's "Prime Time Live."

"The state of the investigation is in suspension until somebody comes forward," Sneddon said. The magazine also reported, quoting unidentified sources, that there is a third boy whose lawyer is working on a settlement with Jackson. In the June 14 interview, Jackson told Sawyer there was "not one iota of information that was found that could connect me to these charges" of child
molestation.

But Sneddon told the magazine in its September issue that he has seen photos of Jackson's genitalia, and "his statement on TV is untrue and incorrect and not consistent with the evidence in the case." Others familiar with the evidence told Vanity Fair that the photos match descriptions given by a young boy to investigators.

The Chattanooga Times, August 19, 1995

Meanwhile, Saturday's Today newspaper said Santa Barbara, Calif., District Attorney Tom Sneddon had twice contacted Presley's mother, Priscilla, for information about Jackson's relationships with young boys.

Showbiz Today, September 22, 1994

GIL GARCETTI, Los Angeles County District Attorney: We have concluded that because the young boy who was the catalyst for this investigation has recently informed us that he does not wish to participate in any criminal proceeding where he is named as a victim, that we must decline prosecution involving Mr. Jackson.

VERCAMMEN: Prosecutors said their investigation also turned up two other children allegedly molested by Michael Jackson. But the district attorneys added one boy is out of the country and denies wrongdoing by Jackson, and the third alleged victim is reluctant to testify. Prosecutors said they will reopen the case should any witnesses have a change of heart.

TOM SNEDDON, Santa Barbara County District Attorney: Should circumstances change, should other evidence become available within this period of the statute of limitations, like Los Angeles County, we would re-evaluate the situation based upon what information is available to us at that particular point in time.

The New York Times, September 22, 1994

Tom Sneddon, the District Attorney in Santa Barbara, where Mr. Jackson owns an estate, said more than 400 witnesses had been interviewed in the case and that two other possible victims had been identified. But he said one of these, who is now in therapy, had asked not to be involved in the case and the other was out of the country and had made a "general denial" of wrongdoing by Mr. Jackson.

The Independent (London), August 20, 1994

A ruddy-faced veteran prosecutor with a reputation for bloody-mindedness, Thomas Sneddon is not burdened by a litany of heavily publicised previous blunders. Nor is he willing to accept that his case is hopeless without the testimony of its central figure - Jordan Chandler.

''The Santa Barbara office is still quite involved in investigation of the Jackson allegations,'' says Michael Cooney, an attorney who knows Sneddon well. ''Tom Sneddon is a very determined individual who will go further than almost anyone to prove something which he feels needs proving. Once he decides action is worth taking, he will pursue it to the very end.''

Sneddon sounds like a man on a mission to us. We're looking for the September, 1995 Vanity Fair article that quotes Sneddon at length. If you find a link to it, let us know.

Update: DA Sneddon misspoke at the news conference on the law pertaining to compelling the testimony of child witnesses.

Update: Here's Sneddon's exact quote:

"When that case went to bed … it went out of my mind. I haven't given it a passing thought," he said.

Right. The above quotes spanning the ten year period since the last case certainly belie that statement.

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