Michael Jackson was arrested for multiple counts of child molestation Thursday at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.
Jackson arrived by private jet around noon, was taken into custody by the Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Dept. and taken to the county jail. He was charged with lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. Jackson posted the $3 million bail at the time of booking and surrendered his passport.
Jackson’s arrival was prearranged with the sheriff’s department and airport officials to minimize media exposure. The jet taxied into a hangar where Jackson, his family and his bodyguard exited. Jackson’s attorney Mark Geragos, who is also representing Scott Peterson in a double murder case, made a statement to members of the press who had been camped outside the airport since Wednesday night.
“Michael has given me the authority to say, on his behalf, that these charges are categorically untrue. He looks forward to getting into a courtroom, as opposed to any other forum, and confronting these accusations head-on,” Geragos said. “He is greatly outraged by the bringing of these charges. He considers this to be a big lie. He understands the people to be outraged because if these charges were true, I assure you, Michael would be the first to be outraged.”
The sheriff’s department served a search warrant at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos on Tuesday and issued a warrant for his arrest on Wednesday. Jackson was in Las Vegas shooting a music video for his new single, “One More Chance,” at the time of the search. The single is on the album “Number Ones,” released Tuesday by Epic Records.
No further details have been released regarding the victim or the results of the search. A judge ordered that affidavits in the case be sealed for 45 days because the investigation is ongoing.
If convicted, Jackson would face a minimum of three years in jail. The maximum sentence is eight years, plus up to two years for each additional charge he is convicted. Jackson’s arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.