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Formal charges against Jackson expected this week

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

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Michael Jackson

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- Formal charges against pop star Michael Jackson will be filed late Thursday or early Friday, the Santa Barbara district attorney's office said Monday.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon said in a statement the charges would be filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, a working-class town close to Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Sneddon earlier had pledged to file charges this week and scoffed at suggestions his case was falling apart.

"Everything will become clear when the charges are filed," he told CNN's Art Harris nearly two weeks ago.

Monday's statement said a news conference would be held Wednesday to clarify exactly when the charges would be lodged.

Jackson, 45, was booked November 20 on suspicion of multiple counts of child molestation in Santa Barbara and is free on $3 million bond.

He was booked on charges of "lewd and lascivious conduct" with a child under 14 -- allegations that Jackson has strenuously denied.

Similar allegations were made in 1993, but charges were never filed after the alleged victim dropped out of any criminal proceedings when his family agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement with Jackson.

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