SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The property manager of Michael Jackson's (search) Neverland Ranch testified Friday that sheriff's deputies looking for evidence in the molestation case against the pop star searched areas that were not specified in a warrant.
Joseph Marcus (search) took the witness stand did, adding that he studied the search warrant they presented to make sure he admitted them only to the areas specified.
He said he agreed to let them into Jackson's office and a few other areas that were not on the search warrant when they said they were doing so only to establish that the locations were secure and no one was there.
"I cooperated and opened the door, but then they decided they wanted to do a search," Marcus testified. "I objected because it was not in the scope of the search warrant."
A deputy told him he would call and have the search warrant amended, but Marcus said that was not done as far as he knows, and the search went ahead anyway. He added that he was also pressured to answer questions by authorities.
"I initially refused to and said I wasn't really interested," Marcus said. "I said, 'Do I have to answer questions?' and they said, 'No, if you have nothing to hide.' I said there's nothing to hide here. It is what it is."
One of the deputies who led the search, Jeff Klipakis, testified later that he never promised to have the warrant amended and denied that authorities pressured Marcus to talk.
"He told me he didn't feel the warrant covered that office," Klipakis said. "I told him that was my decision, and we were going to make an entry into the office, and he used his keys to open it."
Friday's testimony came at a hearing in which defense attorneys are trying to limit the evidence prosecutors can use at the entertainer's trial, set for Jan. 31. The judge was expected to rule later.
Defense attorneys argue that the search of Neverland (search), which lasted 15 hours and involved about 40 officers, was overly broad and unjustified.
A prosecutor asked Marcus about whether alcohol was served at Neverland and the witness said it was not. The judge halted questioning on the topic after the defense objected that it was off the point of the hearing.
Violet Silva, the chief of security at Jackson's ranch, testified that she, too, questioned authorities about the scope of the search warrant and pointed out that Jackson's personal office and video library were not mentioned, though a security office in the same building was listed.
One of the deputies said to her: "'Well we could just consider the whole building to be the security office,"' Silva said.
Before Marcus took the stand, defense attorney Steve Cochran questioned sheriff's Detective Paul Zelis, who directed the search, and noted deputies seized a magazine on which was written the phone number of Mohamed Al Fayed.
"We had a person (by that name) involved in this investigation and it was in plain view," the deputy said.
Mohamed Al Fayed is the father of Dodi Al Fayed, who was killed in a car crash with Britain's Princess Diana. There was no further elaboration on how the elder Al Fayed may have been involved in the Jackson case.
On Thursday, a videotape of part of the search was shown in open court, giving a look inside Jackson's estate.
More videotapes were shown Friday, but Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville allowed only the parties involved and court staff to see them, eliciting an objection from Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a media attorney representing a coalition of news organizations including The Associated Press. Boutrous asked Melville to make the tapes available to the public.
Melville scheduled another hearing for Monday to wrap up testimony on the defense request to suppress evidence.
He also said he would order the mother of Jackson's accuser to testify on Sept. 17. She has been unavailable because she gave birth to another child in July, and her doctor said she needed eight weeks to recover.
Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail.