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Sheriff in Jackson case feels vindicated

No evidence that deputies or jail staff manhandled the pop star.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Santa Barbara County sheriff said Tuesday he was vindicated by a state attorney general’s report that found no evidence deputies and jail staff manhandled Michael Jackson during his arrest on child molestation charges.

The report concluded there was no criminal conduct during the sheriff’s department’s contact with Jackson, Sheriff Jim Anderson said at a news conference.

The finding had been leaked to the media more than a week ago.

“After interviewing 163 witnesses and expending in excess of 2,500 investigative hours, the California Bureau of Investigation determined that Mr. Jackson was not injured at the hands of Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department personnel,” Anderson said.

Jackson claimed in a December “60 Minutes” interview that he was handled roughly during the Nov. 20 arrest. The sheriff denied the allegations but called for an investigation.

“The findings of the attorney general’s investigation have provided a clear vindication of our personnel who were involved in the arrest and booking of Mr. Jackson,” Anderson said.

He declined to answer when asked if he planned to charge Jackson with making false claims. “I’m under court order not to take questions,” he said.

Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said in court last week that Jackson never made a formal complaint about his treatment or requested an investigation, although he had bruises and received medical treatment.

Jackson, 45, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 31. He has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He is free on $3 million bail.