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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Timeline: The Jackson case
As Michael Jackson faces allegations of child abuse in court, BBC News Online traces developments in the case so far.

Santa Barbara County Sheriffs guard the entrance to Neverland
Santa Barbara County sheriffs guard Neverland entrance during raid
18 November 2003 - Police with a search warrant raided Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch at 0830 local time (1630 GMT), giving the first public indication that the star was being investigated. Mr Jackson's lawyer said the investigation had been going on for two months and arose from allegations of sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy.

Mr Jackson denied the allegations. The search came on the day that his latest greatest hits album, Number Ones, was released in the US and a day after its UK release.

19 November - Police issued an arrest warrant for the star, who was in Las Vegas filming a video. He negotiated with police to arrange a time and place to hand himself in.

Michael Jackson's mug shot
Mr Jackson had his mug shot taken by police when he was "booked"
20 November - Mr Jackson flew to Santa Barbara to be arrested and "booked" by police. He was seen being led in handcuffs and he also handed over his passport, had his mug shot and fingerprints taken before being freed on $3m (1.65m) bail.

22 November - Die-hard fans in cities from Los Angeles and London to Tel Aviv and Tokyo held candle-lit vigils in support of their idol.

23 November - Mr Jackson's Number Ones album goes straight to number one in the UK, but it fared less well in the US.

Michael Jackson being led into police station in handcuffs
He claimed he was injured by police when he was arrested
25 November - The fight-back began as Mr Jackson launched a website to defend himself. It said the charges were based on "a big lie" and he wanted to end "this horrible time" by proving they were false in court.

18 December - One month after the Neverland raid, Mr Jackson was formally charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering intoxicating liquor to a minor with the intent of committing a crime.

The abuse was claimed to have taken place between 7 February and 10 March 2003 and the alleged victim was identified only as "John Doe".

Mr Jackson remained free on bail and his lawyer said the entertainer was "unequivocally and absolutely innocent" and would fight the charges "with every fibre of his soul".

Authorities also let Mr Jackson have his passport back between 20 December and 6 January to fulfil pre-arranged commitments in the UK.

20 December - About 600 people, including tennis star Serena Williams and former rapper MC Hammer, attended a lavish party at Neverland to show their support.

Michael Jackson giving interview to CBS on Christmas Day
He gave an interview to the CBS network on Christmas Day
25 December - Mr Jackson recorded his first interview since news of the allegations broke. Speaking to the CBS TV network in a hotel room, he said he would "slit my wrists" before he would hurt a child.

He also claimed he suffered a dislocated shoulder after police "manhandled" him and treated him "very roughly" during his arrest.

30 December -

Stories surfaced claiming religious organisation The Nation of Islam had begun handling some of Mr Jackson's security. But it denied the reports, saying it had "no official business or professional relationship" with the singer.

31 December - California's attorney-general launched an investigation into allegations by Mr Jackson that he was mistreated by police during his arrest.

6 January 2004 - Mr Jackson handed his passport back to authorities.

Michael Jackson on the roof of his car after his court appearance
Jackson saluted fans from the roof of his car
16 January 2004 - Mr Jackson pleaded not guilty in court in Santa Maria, California to charges of child abuse.

The singer was admonished by Judge Rodney S Melville for arriving in court 21 minutes late.

Emerging from court following the hearing, Mr Jackson stood on his car and waved to cheering fans. A pre-trial hearing was set for February 13.

13 February 2004 - At a pre-trial hearing, Judge Melville said he wanted to see Mr Jackson on trial by the end of the year. Mr Jackson was not present in court.

On the same day, Mr Jackson's music manager denied the singer had financial problems, after reports surfaced claiming he owed the Bank of America $70m (36m).

24 February 2004 - Mr Jackson denied press reports that he had checked into a rehabilitation centre in Aspen, Colorado. The singer claimed he was on holiday with his children.

2 March 2004 - In response to a warrant issued on 22 January 2004, police seize phone records, videotapes and a DVD of a Neverland party from Mr Jackson's home.

12 March 2004 - Judge Melville blocked access to an audio tape said to feature defence interviews with the singer's accuser. The judge said it could identify areas of defence strategy.

Gloria Allred
Gloria Allred says she will continue her battle
18 March 2004 - A lawyer who asked authorities to remove Michael Jackson's children from his custody had her request denied.

Gloria Allred, who is not involved in the current case, claimed she feared for the safety of his three children.

30 March 2004 - A California grand jury met in secret to hear testimony from witnesses.

The child at the centre of the case was among the witnesses expected to give evidence.

Meanwhile, media organisations appealed against a sweeping order that restricts reporters covering the activities of the grand jury.

Michael Jackson
Mr Jackson was honoured by families of African ambassadors
2 April 2004 - The singer was presented with a humanitarian award for his work fighting Aids in Africa.

3 April 2004 - Mr Jackson's lawyer told a pre-trial hearing that he had evidence that helped prove the singer's innocence, include ding school and psychiatric reports from a legal case involving Jackson's accuser.

14 April 2004 - Mr Jackson faces a fresh allegation of child abuse, dating from the late 1980s, although no details were revealed by police.

21 April 2004 - Mr Jackson is indicted by a grand jury, sitting in Santa Barbara, California, to stand trial.

His lawyers say Mr Jackson will plead not guilty to child abuse charges when he appears in court on 30 April.

25 April 2004 - Mr Jackson replaces his lawyers Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman.

Thomas Mesereau, another well-known criminal defence attorney, is appointed to replace them.

30 April 2004 - Mr Jackson appears in court and pleads not guilty to 10 child molestation charges including a fresh charge of conspiracy to abduct a child.

The new conspiracy count includes 28 allegations of "overt acts" including false imprisonment and extortion.

The judge said the $3m (1.7m) bail order would remain in place and set the date of the next hearing for 28 May.

28 May 2004 - Judge Rodney Melville sets a tentative date for the trial of 13 September - but says he expects the hearing to be delayed to allow lawyers to prepare their cases.

3 June 2004 - Los Angeles police drop separate investigations into child abuse claims that date back to the late 1980s (see 14 April). Police uncovered no evidence to support the allegations despite an extensive two-month investigation.

27 July 2004 - At a pre-trial hearing, the prosecution alleges Mr Jackson enticed his accuser and his family to his home, forcing them to make a video tape praising the singer. Mr Jackson's team said allegations that the Neverland ranch was set up to seduce children were "absurd".

The judge agrees to the defence's request to delay the trial until 31 January 2005.




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