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Judge Denies Request to Lower $3-Million Bail in Jackson Case

September 02, 2004|Steve Chawkins | Times Staff Writer

The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case has refused to lower the singer's $3-million bail because any less would not "register on the defendant's radar," according to court documents released Wednesday.

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville also pointed to sealed grand jury testimony indicating that Jackson tried to send the family of his accuser to Brazil, promising to join them there later.

If that is true, Melville wrote in a four-page decision, it demonstrates "the manner in which [Jackson] handles situations perceived to be difficult."

In June, Melville denied Jackson's request to reduce his bail to $435,000. At the urging of Jackson's attorneys, a state appellate court then asked the judge to reconsider his ruling. In the decision released Wednesday, Melville cited several figures he viewed as indications of Jackson's wealth.

According to sealed motions filed with the court, Jackson allegedly had his employees draw $1 million from a so-called petty cash fund, the judge wrote.

In another document cited by the judge, Jackson's attorneys estimated that it would cost the entertainer more than $70 million to flee. While acknowledging Jackson's bail as unusually high, the judge said that it "is not meant in any way to indicate the relative strength" of the case against him.

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