Tuesday, the same day that seventy Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies and district Attorney’s office investigators swarmed Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch with search warrants, officials also reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Jackson.
The search began at 8:30 a.m. at the pop singer’s sprawling 2,700-acre estate and concluded just after 11 p.m. It was part of an ongoing investigation, according to Sgt. Chris Pappas, who would not elaborate on what the investigation entailed. Pappas was unable to comment on what, if any, evidence was removed from Jackson’s home. Those issues are expected to be addressed at a Wednesday press conference.
The raid was tied to molestation allegations made by an unnamed twelve-year-old Los Angeles boy, according to media reports, though Pappas would not comment on those reports.
In a statement, Jackson spokesperson Stuart Backerman said, “We cannot comment on law enforcement’s investigation because we do not yet know what it is about. Michael will, as always, cooperate fully with authorities in any investigation even as it is conducted, yet again, while he is not home.”
Jackson issued his own statement attacking the timing of the search: “These characters always seem to surface with dreadful allegations just as another project, an album, a video is being released.”
The raid came on the same day that Jackson’s Number Ones greatest hits album was released. The collection features the new song “One More Chance,” written by R. Kelly. A Jackson TV special is scheduled to air on CBS on November 26th, and he is in Las Vegas filming the elaborate “One More Chance” video, slated to debut during the special.
In 1993, a fourteen-year-old boy alleged that Jackson had improper sexual contact with him; that case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount said to be in the millions. No charges were filed and Jackson denied any wrongdoing, but experts who followed the case have said that Santa Barbara County officials have been keeping a close eye on Jackson since.