Published May 22, 2005
SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Michael Jackson’s criminal trial for molestation charges isn’t just taxing on his defense team — it’s also costing the county of Santa Barbara (search) millions of dollars just to protect him while he’s in court.
Overtime law enforcement as well as Zeus, the bomb-sniffing dog (search), are taking a toll on the sheriff’s department, some say.
“This trial, unlike a normal day-to-day trial, has a lot of additional security,” said Eric Rainey of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.
A police motorcade escorts the one-time pop star and his entourage from the freeway to the courthouse each morning and officers keep barriers erected outside the courtroom to cordon off fans and media.
Also, court is only in session for six hours a day, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., so the court doesn’t have to adjourn for lunch and provide Jackson with extra security.
Some say he’s even causing a risk to the community.
“There were reports that he was traveling 90 mph with security staff up Highway 101, and not a single police officer stopped him,” said FOX News legal analyst Jim Hammer (search). “I tell you, if it were any other defendant, they’d be in jail for a stunt like that.”
However, members of the Jackson camp say he has received death threats, and the added security is necessary.
The county hopes some expenses will be reimbursed by the state.