Jackson focus of probe

Los Angeles Police Dept. investigators searched homes over the weekend owned by pop star Michael Jackson as part of a criminal investigation involving the singer.

Police would not elaborate on what they were looking for or the nature of the investigation, but officers involved in the probe confirm they served search warrants at the singer’s NeverLand Valley Ranch near Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County and at his Century City condominium.

“I can confirm the LAPD is conducting an investigation,” said LAPD spokesman David Gascon, confirming that Jackson is involved in a criminal investigation. “But I’m not going to confirm or deny the existence of any search warrants.”

A representative for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept., the jurisdiction where Jackson’s ranch is located, confirmed ateam of LAPD investigators searched the singer’s ranch.

Jackson is on tour in Asia, but is reportedly aware of the LAPD search.

Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator who said he works for the Jackson family, asserted the investigation started as a result of claims made by an unidentified woman who told L.A. County Dept. of Children’s Services officials that her child was abused while visiting the singer at one of his homes.

Pellicano said the woman’s claim followed her unsuccessful attempt to extort money from the singer. When she was rebuffed, she called the agency, Pellicano said, which in turn brought in the LAPD.

Representatives for Jackson were with Jackson in Thailand and could not be reached for comment. An assistant at Jackson’s publicist’s office said they “have no information” about the investigation.

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