Grand Jury Ends Jackson Inquiry, TV Report Says

From Times wire services

One of two California grand juries that has been investigating sex abuse allegations against pop superstar Michael Jackson has ended its deliberations for now without returning an indictment, a Los Angeles television station reported Saturday.

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, which heard testimony from Jackson employees, friends and family, has concluded its three-month term and will not hear from anymore witnesses, said KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. However, it is possible for the grand jury to decide to reconvene later.

A Los Angeles grand jury and prosecutors there and in Santa Barbara continue their investigations into allegations that Jackson molested a 14-year-old boy.

"It's pleasant, it's not surprising, but still, we'd like it all to be over with, and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later," Jackson's attorney, Howard Weitzman, told KNBC. "It's my opinion and has been all along that no charges should be filed and the investigation should be shut down."

Authorities from both counties are involved because Jackson maintains a home in Los Angeles in addition to his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara County.

Jackson's troubles began last August when police and prosecutors started looking into allegations that the singer had sexually molested the boy during a four-month period last year. Jackson has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal surrounding the 35-year-old singer has turned his life and career upside down, leaving millions of adoring fans in shocked disbelief.

Jackson settled a civil lawsuit filed by the boy by agreeing in January to pay him millions of dollars. The resolution of the suit raised speculation that the boy might refuse to cooperate with authorities, dooming any criminal case against Jackson.

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