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D.A. Garcetti denies Jackson probe ended

Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti denied reports Monday that the investigation into child molestation charges against singer Michael Jackson is concluded, and that a decision not to file criminal charges has been reached.

“The matter is still under investigation,” Garcetti said. “I’m reasonably confident that the investigation will be completed by the end of the month.”

Addressing a claim made by the syndicated tabloid TV show “Hard Copy” that the case will be labeled a “D.A. reject”– a term used to describe the decision not to file charges in a criminal investigation — Garcetti said, “No decision has been made.”

Sources note it is unlikely a determination as to whether charges will be filed could be made while the molestation probe is still ongoing.

The grand jury session in Santa Barbara was extended Monday for an additional 90-day term to allow S.B. District Attorney Thomas Sneddon to gather additional evidence.

Sneddon also dismissed reports that the probe was concluded, and said that it is premature to decide whether charges against Jackson will be filed.

“When we reach a time where we are prepared to make a statement about our conclusions, we will do that in fairness to everybody at one time,” Sneddon said , referring to the joint S.B. and Los Angeles County probes.

The two grand juries continue to hear testimony into allegations the pop star molested a 13-year-old boy. Sneddon said the boy is scheduled to meet with prosecutors this week.

Although prosecution sources admit to being frustrated in their grand jury probe, failing to get direct evidence linking the singer to the molestation charges, privately they concede that their case would be stronger if the boy would agree to testify.

Jackson has been under investigation since last August, when the boy claimed he was sexually molested by the entertainer. The grand juries began hearing testimony last month.

Several Jackson camp insiders have appeared before either the L.A. or Santa Barbara County grand jury, including former security consultant Anthony Pellicano, Jackson’s mother Katherine and several housekeepers. Miko Brando, a driver for the singer, and Norma Staikos, Jackson’s executive assistant, have also testified.

The charges were initially labeled by Jackson handlers as an extortion attempt by the boy’s father, who allegedly sought financing for a film deal.

When negotiations broke down between the father, a Beverly Hills dentist with ties to the film industry, and Pellicano, a lawsuit against Jackson was filed by the boy.

The lawsuit was settled in January, with Jackson agreeing to pay the boy an undisclosed sum. Sources put the settlement figure at $ 15 million.

The boy’s father was cleared of extortion charges by LAPD investigators a week before the settlement was announced.

While grand jury testimony is sealed, sources said that none of the witnesses so far have offered anything that would directly implicate the singer. “The only thing Jackson could be convicted of at this point is bad judgment,” said an investigation source.

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