SANTA MARIA, Calif. – In a highly unusual move, the judge in the Michael Jackson (search) child-molestation case ordered the district attorney Friday to take the stand and explain a raid on a private investigator's office.
Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville (search) wants to know if the seizure of videotapes and computer hard drives from investigator Bradley Miller's office in November 2003 violated Jackson's attorney-client privilege.
The defense says Miller was working for Mark Geragos (search), who was the pop star's lawyer at the time.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon (search) said Friday he did not know Miller was working for Geragos when authorities with a search warrant broke into Miller's office with sledgehammers.
"I have nothing to hide," Sneddon said.
The judge said he wants to find out what Sneddon knew at the time.
"I have been very concerned about the factual issue, whether or not the district attorney ... knew Mr. Geragos was working for Mr. Jackson and knew that Mr. Miller had been retained by Geragos," Melville said.
The judge at first ordered Sneddon to cancel his vacation — a prepaid trip to Alaska for his 37th wedding anniversary — to testify July 27. He then suggested the defense try to accommodate the prosecutor, either with a videotaped deposition or an appearance at a later hearing.
Jackson fired Geragos in April. His legal team is now led by Thomas Mesereau Jr.
Jackson, 45, is charged with molesting a boy and plying him with alcohol.
Separately, an appeals court ordered Melville to reconsider whether the pop star's $3 million bail is excessive and should be reduced.
Last month, Melville refused to lower Jackson's bail, saying the singer's wealth justified the higher-than-normal amount. Jackson's lawyers, who had petitioned bail be reduced to no more than $435,000, appealed.
Criminal defense attorney Steve Cron said the appeals court was sending a message to Melville that he did not adequately explain his decision.
Cron said the penal code section cited in the appellate order does not mention a defendant's wealth as a criteria for setting bail.