SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County sheriff said he was vindicated by a state attorney general's report that found no evidence deputies and jail staff manhandled Michael Jackson (search) during his arrest on child molestation charges.
The report concluded there was no criminal conduct during the sheriff's department's contact with the singer, Sheriff Jim Anderson said Tuesday 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. (search) 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.
Anderson's demeanor Tuesday was muted in comparison to his anger in December when he first responded to Jackson's allegations of being "manhandled very roughly."
"Shortly after the program aired, I held a press conference in which I produced information that clearly contradicted Mr. Jackson's claims and demonstrated the courteous and professional manner in which he was treated throughout the course of the arrest and booking process," Anderson said.
In the TV interview, Jackson said he was locked in a feces-smeared restroom for 45 minutes after he asked to use the facilities. He showed what he said was a bruise on his right arm and said his shoulder was dislocated.
In his December response, Anderson said that Jackson was not put in a restroom, but a cell designed to hold seven prisoners and equipped with a toilet. He also said the cell was cleaned just before Jackson's request.