- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2003

From combined dispatches

LOS OLIVOS — Officers raided Michael Jacksons Neverland Ranch yesterday, and a television network reported that authorities have a warrant to arrest the singer on child-molestation charges, possibly as soon as today.

Last night, Diane Dimond of Court TV said that law-enforcement officials had told her on the condition of anonymity that “there was not just a search warrant out there today at Neverland. There was also an arrest warrant. And had Michael Jackson been there, they would have put handcuffs on him and taken him to jail.”

Miss Dimond told CNNs “Larry King Live” that her sources were “very high, high, high” in law enforcement and that authorities planned a press conference in California this morning.

She said the California warrant was good in all 50 states, but that law enforcement had not decided whether to arrest Mr. Jackson, 45, in Las Vegas, where he is shooting a video with his three children, or demand that he surrender.

Authorities last night did not officially disclose the purpose of the raid.

Court TV cited unidentified sources earlier in the day as saying the search warrant was tied to a sexual-abuse accusation from a 12- or 13-year-old boy.

Brian Oxman, a lawyer who has represented Jackson family members in the past, told ABC News that the investigation “is about a 12-year-old boy. This involves a molestation allegation.”

Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman said Mr. Oxman was not authorized to make statements on the singers behalf.

More than 20 investigators from the Santa Barbara County sheriffs and district attorneys offices served a warrant as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Sgt. Chris Pappas said.

No arrests were made, and the district attorneys office had no comment.

“We cannot comment on law enforcements investigation because we do not yet know what it is about,” Mr. Backerman said in a statement. “Michael will, as always, cooperate fully with authorities in any investigation even as it is conducted, yet again, while he is not home.”

Mr. Jackson was accused in 1993 of molesting a boy, though he maintained his innocence, and charges were never filed. He reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar settlement. Miss Dimond of Court TV has been covering Mr. Jacksons legal affairs since that 1993 case.

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