No grand jury for Jackson

Despite statements by an attorney for Michael Jackson Tuesday that a grand jury indictment of the singer was imminent, a Santa Barbara County official said Wednesday that no witnesses were called to testify against the entertainer.

“We did not call a grand jury in this case,” said Colleen Francisco, deputy jury commissioner for Santa Barbara County.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon said in a press release late Wednesday that he would not confirm or deny the existence of a grand jury probe.

Jackson is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Dept. and Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Dept. for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland Valley Ranch in nearby Santa Ynez Valley.

The grand jury room at the courthouse was empty Wednesday and Sneddon had taken the four-day Thanksgiving holiday to go fishing.

Jackson civil attorney Bert Fields, seeking to delay a lawsuit brought by the boy, told Los Angeles County judge David Rothman Tuesday that a Santa Barbara County grand jury was about to indict Jackson.

Fields was hoping his statements about the pending indictment would be the trump card necessary to get Rothman to grant an extensive delay in the civil case against the singer. The judge set a trial date for March 21.

But Jackson’s criminal attorney, Howard Weitzman, told reporters outside the courtroom that Fields had “misspoke” and that no grand jury probe was under way.

Neither Fields nor Weitzman was available for comment Wednesday.

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