Jackson Gives DNA Sample to Police

Michael Jackson has voluntarily given a DNA sample to authorities, according to a source close to the case, but it was not immediately clear how officials planned to use the sample in the singer’s child molestation case.

Monday is the deadline for prosecutors and defense lawyers to complete the discovery process, in which both sides exchange evidence they have gathered during pretrial investigations.

The 46-year-old entertainer has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to his alleged victim. He is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 31.

Jackson voluntarily gave a DNA sample to authorities, returning to his Neverland Ranch estate a day after he left during a search by sheriff’s deputies, a source close to the case said Sunday.

When Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies arrived with search warrants Friday, Jackson’s lawyer instructed him to leave and take his children with him, the source told The Associated Press.

Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, flew by helicopter from Los Angeles to Jackson’s ranch in Los Olivos, 100 miles northwest, when he heard the search warrant had been served, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The deputies came back to the estate on Saturday, and requested a DNA sample. Jackson returned by car and supplied the sample voluntarily, the source said.

Authorities had never before asked for a DNA sample, the source said. A cotton swab was used to collect the sample from Jackson’s mouth.

Also while at Jackson’s ranch, sheriff’s investigators measured rooms, trying to establish the sight lines from one room to another, the source said.

Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor, said she was surprised District Attorney Tom Sneddon had not requested DNA earlier.

“We don’t know whether this means they are scrambling or tying up loose ends, or it’s just Sneddon going over the top,” she said.

From a public relations standpoint, however, the prosecution has scored a coup with the highly publicized searches, she said.

“They’ve certainly gotten a lot of attention and, even if there’s a gag order, they got the message out: ‘We’ve got DNA,'” Levenson said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials have refused to discuss the visits except to issue a statement saying they are “part of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Jackson’s estate was first searched in November 2003, shortly before he was charged.

Credit: AP

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