Some evidence in the Michael Jackson case is being kept so private, not even Jackson and his lawyers have access to it yet.
A May 13 document from Jackson's lawyers, made public on Tuesday, claims that Jackson's prosecutors have been withholding witnesses and more than 300 items seized in the November raids of Jackson's Los Olivos, California, home and other locations. The motion requests that the prosecution turn these materials over to the defense, stating that "the prosecution is far from satisfying basic discovery obligations."
Law requires that the defense is given "discovery" of the prosecution's evidence, to prepare to argue its use in court.
Since January 30, when Jackson's defense made its initial demand for discovery, including a request for witness statements and copies of tapes, photographs and other materials, the prosecution has turned over more than 1,100 pages of documents in three waves. The first two waves totaled around 850 pages of police reports and summaries of witness interviews. The third, provided on March 12, included almost 300 pages of reports, 51 audio tapes, two videotapes and other material.
The defense's discovery request asks the judge to set a deadline for the prosecution to turn over the remaining items, claiming there are "dozens, if not over 100" witnesses involved, and asking for access to those items and witnesses. The defense alleges that the prosecution has not responded to its demand for specific items and has only provided "incomplete production of documents and tapes."
In their response to the motion, the prosecutors explain that they have been notifying the defense as materials in the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department become available for inspection, and that the defense's request that the Sheriff's Department "relinquish unsupervised custody and control of physical evidence," is unusual, and not something the prosecution can agree to.
The request to examine all the prosecution's evidence may delay the trial, as the defense claims in the motion that it needs "adequate time to review the material generated by the prosecution," and the prosecution states in its response that there is some necessary "lag time" between the investigation and turning over of evidence.
A Friday hearing has been set in Santa Barbara Superior Court for Judge Rodney Melville to consider the defense's request, as well as the several other motions by the defense, including requests to lower Jackson's $3 million bail and unseal grand-jury transcripts.
Also on Tuesday the family of the boy alleged to be the victim in the Jackson case claimed that a confidential memo, which states that Jackson was cleared of misconduct by child-welfare investigators after the boy denied he was molested by Jackson, was leaked to the public by a member of the Department of Children and Family Services, the Associated Press reports. The boy's attorney is reportedly seeking an apology, unspecified damages and an investigation to find the individual who leaked the memo in December 2003. The DCFS announced that it would investigate the leak and hold the person responsible for it accountable.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."
This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday May 27