Is Michael Jackson in the crosshairs of a vengeful prosecuting attorney? The singer's legal team seems to think so, and has asked that the district attorney's office be removed from Jackson's case.
The singer's lawyer Robert Sanger filed a motion on Monday requesting the removal of prosecuting District Attorney Tom Sneddon and the entire Santa Barbara district attorney's office from his client's child-molestation case, according to The Associated Press.
In pretrial proceedings, Jackson's lawyers have claimed that Sneddon is seeking personal revenge against Jackson because he lost a battle to have charges filed against the singer in a 1993 child-molestation investigation.
In mid-August, Sneddon was called to the stand for questioning about whether he exceeded his authority by participating in a search of the office of a private investigator in November 2003, in which tapes, computer discs, files and letters were seized as evidence (see "Jackson In Court As Defense Attorney Challenges Prosecutor").
Private investigator Brad Miller was working for Jackson's former attorney Mark Geragos at the time, which would make the items taken from his office confidential under attorney-client privilege. Sneddon has testified that he was unaware of Miller's relation to the Jackson case at the time.
The motion to remove Sneddon and the district attorney's office from the case was filed under seal, like many of the documents submitted during Jackson's pre-trial hearings. According to the AP, Sanger said sealing the motion was necessary because "the content of the motion includes reference to details in under-seal material including discovery materials, grand-jury transcripts, investigative reports, exhibits and identities of witnesses."
Jackson is scheduled to stand trial on January 31.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."