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"Mr. Jackson is known and adored in many of the countries of Europe, the Near East and Africa. Several of those countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States."
——Prosecution documents


Let the Games Begin as Lawyers Try to Reduce $3 Million Bail
Get ready for some justice American-style.

The judge in the Michael Jackson molestation case set a tentative trial date of Sept. 13 and heard arguments on whether to reduce the pop star's bail, according to an Associated Press report.

Jackson wasn't in court, and few fans turned out for the hearing.

Jackson defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. objected to setting the trial date, saying the prosecution had not given the defense all the evidence it had gathered in the case.

Mesereau said prosecutors have not disclosed the nature of the forensic testing, so the defense could decide whether it considers it valid.

Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville said he understood the trial date might be changed, but wanted to set "a bull's-eye to shoot for.''

In arguing for the lowering of Jackson's $3 million bail, Mesereau noted his client's charitable contributions, lack of criminal record and substantial non-moveable assets in Santa Barbara County, including his Neverland Ranch.

He said the severity of the alleged crime coupled with bail precedents for other crimes suggest Jackson's bail should be $435k at most.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen noted that bail for a criminal defendant usually is many times greater than his total assets. He noted that bail amounted to only .3% of Jackson's total assets of more than a billion.

Zonen said the bail amount was "roughly comparable to what he would spend in a weekend in Las Vegas on hideous works of art.''

The prosecution has said in court documents that a large bail amount was necessary to be sure Jackson does not flee the country.

"Mr. Jackson is known and adored in many of the countries of Europe, the Near East and Africa,'' the prosecution said in a motion made available Sunday. "Several of those countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States.''

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

Lawyers representing news organizations were set to argue to unseal the entire grand jury indictment. Melville excised from the indictment the names of five alleged unindicted coconspirators as well as 28 overt acts that prosecutors contend are incriminating.

The defense wants access to about 400 items seized by prosecutors and interview transcripts with dozens of witnesses. The motion, made public Thursday, asked the judge to intervene to make sure the defendants are allowed to fully examine the evidence.

The prosecution wants to keep sealed a mysterious motion accusing someone in the case of contempt of court. A redacted version has been released without identifying anyone.

Attorney Joseph Tacopina, who represents two former Jackson employees, said he believes from news reports and conversations with law enforcement officials that the grand jury will indict his clients, Vincent Amen and Frank Tyson, and is refusing to allow them to show in court.

Tacopina says Tyson, who was Jackson's personal assistant, might be accused by prosectors of threatening to kill the younger brother of Jackson's alleged victim if he told authorities Jackson had given the boy alcohol.

Amen, who worked for Jackson's production company, will be charged with holding the family at Jackson's Neverland estate against their will.