Raids target private detective, videographer, sources say
Tuesday, November 25, 2003 Posted: 2:43 PM EST (1943 GMT)
SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- Detectives with the Santa Barbara, California, County Sheriff's Department have searched the Beverly Hills office of a private detective hired by pop-icon Michael Jackson, as well as the home of Jackson's videographer, CNN has learned.
The sources who disclosed the locations of the raids would not discuss what evidence might have been seized. The raids were carried out after officers raided Jackson's Neverland ranch on November 18.
Sheriff's Department officials said on November 18 that two additional locations had been searched but at the time did not say where those locations were.
Jackson was arrested and booked on suspicion of child molestation last week and was released after posting a $3 million bond.
Formal charges will not be filed before mid-December, a source close to the investigation told CNN.
Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned January 9 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. A single count of child molestation can carry a prison sentence of up to eight years. (Full story)
Jackson has denied the charges and on Monday the singer launched a Web site dedicated to countering what he called "a big lie" -- the child molestation allegation. (Full story)
The alleged victim in the Jackson case participated in a documentary about the pop star, a source close to the child's family told CNN.
Investigators also have begun checking almost 70 calls from people claiming to have information about the investigation.
"Those calls need to be screened and we haven't been able to substantiate all of them as actual tips," a law enforcement source told CNN. "Hopefully, they will be screened, check out thoroughly, and we will take it from there. Of course you have to figure some may be nuts."
The source said that documents in the Jackson case that can be released to the public are likely to be posted on a department Web site, even though the department is having trouble keeping up with the Web traffic the case has generated.
The source said the department's Web servers were shut down by heavy traffic after Jackson turned himself in to the department and was booked.
The Sheriff's Department posted Jackson's booking photo on its Web site and soon had counted millions of hits. The site crashed and the photo had to be moved to a server dedicated specifically to visitors trying to see the photo.
"It received more than 1 million hits in the first two hours when the booking photos were posted," said the source. "It was just too much for the system. We've never had anything like this. That's why we had to move to another server."