Although the legal agenda for Monday’s pretrial hearing is significant, emotional overtones may take center stage.
The subject of this session is District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the man who also tried to bring charges against Jackson in 1993 in a confrontation so bitter that Jackson wrote an angry song that only slightly disguised Sneddon’s name.
On Monday, Mesereau gets to question Sneddon about his actions in the weeks before the current charges against Jackson were filed.
The defense is seeking to show that Sneddon invaded the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege between Jackson and his former attorney.
Jackson has not been required to attend pretrial hearings, but he decided he wanted to be present for this confrontation.
In the audience will be his parents, Joseph and Katherine, and siblings Janet, LaToya, Jermaine and Jackie.
“It’s a face-off between Jackson and Sneddon,” said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola University law professor and former federal prosecutor. “And emotionally, it’s a big moment in the case. This is high drama.”
The hearing is also important legally, she said, because prosecutors stand to lose their key evidence if it is found that they obtained it illegally.
“This is the basis of the conspiracy count,” she said.
In addition, she said, a finding that the prosecution intentionally interfered with the attorney-client relationship could prompt a motion to dismiss the charge entirely.
Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail.
Sneddon was subpoenaed by Jackson’s attorneys to testify about surveillance he personally conducted at the office of a private investigator working for Jackson’s former attorney, Mark Geragos.