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Grand Jury Calls Michael Jackson's Mother to Testify

March 16, 1994|JIM NEWTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Michael Jackson's mother, who has steadfastly proclaimed her son's innocence in the face of allegations that he sexually molested a 13-year-old boy, has been ordered to testify before a Los Angeles County Grand Jury on Thursday afternoon, one of Jackson's lawyers said Tuesday.

"In all the years of my experience, I've never before seen the mother of the target of an investigation called before the grand jury," said Howard Weitzman, one of two lawyers representing Jackson, who has been under investigation since last summer. "It's just done in real poor taste. It borders on harassment."

Jackson's mother has frequently given interviews and made public appearances to defend her son, but a source close to the investigation said she may be questioned about Jackson's physical appearance. Investigators have been attempting to determine whether Jackson has done anything to alter his appearance so that it does not match a description provided to them by the alleged victim, who turned 14 in January.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti said Tuesday he expects to wrap up the Jackson investigation within the next month or so. Although grand juries are meeting in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, Jackson's attorneys say they have been told that neither grand jury is considering an indictment, at least for the time being.

Because they can issue subpoenas, grand juries often are used to elicit statements from witnesses who otherwise are reluctant to speak to investigators.

Weitzman said Jackson was "very, very upset" to learn that his mother had been called to testify. Officials from the district attorney's office declined to comment.

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