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Law

Police launch new search of Jackson ranch

Pop singer not present, parents' attorney says


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Michael Jackson has been free on $3 million bond since November 2003.
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Sheriff's investigators were searching Michael Jackson's Neverland estate on Friday in connection with child molestation charges against the pop singer, a Santa Barbara County sheriff's spokesman said.

Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation, conspiracy and giving alcohol to his accuser, a cancer-stricken boy who appeared with Jackson in a British documentary in February 2003. A January 31 trial date has been set.

The search warrant was served around 9 a.m. (noon ET) Friday, and officers are expected to be on the premises for much of the day, spokesman Chris Pappas said.

A judge has set Monday as the deadline for handing over evidence in the case.

Jackson has not commented publicly on Friday's search.

Debra Opri, an attorney representing Jackson's parents, Joseph and Katherine Jackson, said they are upset by the search, which they said is nothing more than continuing harassment of their son.

Opri also said Jackson was not at Neverland on Friday when authorities arrived.

She said she believes that at least one of Jackson's attorneys has been present during the search.

Police also searched Jackson's estate in November 2003. Authorities seized computers and notes, and cut the top off a mattress. In September, authorities raided the home of one of Jackson's personal assistants.

Jackson has been on $3 million bond since his formal arrest in late November 2003.

CNN's Miguel Marquez contributed to this report.


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