Grand Jury Hears Ex-Jackson Aide : Investigation: Former chief of staff at Neverland ranch testifies in child molestation probe.
A grand jury looking into allegations of sexual molestation by pop superstar Michael Jackson heard more testimony behind closed doors Thursday.
A woman identified as Norma Staikos, Jackson’s former chief of staff who ran his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara County, testified for two hours.
Sources close to the investigation said her evidence was considered crucial.
The Santa Barbara County grand jury began hearing testimony Wednesday. It was expected to adjourn for two weeks before resuming its task of hearing from more than a dozen witnesses. There was no immediate reason given for the adjournment.
Staikos was served with a subpoena ordering her to testify. She reportedly had fled to her native Greece rather than talk to police when the investigation started in August, but later returned.
Jackson’s accuser, a 14-year-old boy who said he was sexually molested by the 35-year-old singer when he was 13, settled a multimillion-dollar civil suit out of court last month. Jackson has vehemently denied the accusations.
A man who identified himself to reporters only as a member of Jackson’s production staff also testified to the grand jury Thursday.
Two witnesses--former Jackson security guard Miko Brando, son of actor Marlon Brando, and an unidentified friend of the singer’s--appeared before the 19-member panel Wednesday.
The purpose of a grand jury is to consider the testimony of witnesses and decide if the person being investigated has cause to answer, in which case it hands up an indictment. The witnesses are produced by the prosecutors, and no defense is presented.