A judge has refused to lower Michael Jackson’s €2.5m bail in his child molestation case, saying the singer’s wealth justified the higher-than-normal bail amount.
Santa Barbara County Judge Rodney Melville added that the bail should remain higher than what is typically imposed on defendants facing similar charges to ensure that Jackson appears at future court dates.
“While there has to date been no significant issue with regard to the defendant’s appearance at scheduled court events, it continues to appear to the court that a … financial incentive to do so should be in place,” Melville wrote in the ruling released last nighty.
Jackson’s bail was set when he was arrested in November, but his lawyers then did not fight the amount.
Jackson’s new lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, requested that Jackson’s bail be reduced to no more than €361,000 after he took over the case in April.
Mesereau argued that Jackson’s bail should be lowered because of his charitable contributions, lack of criminal record and ties to Santa Barbara County, where the case was filed. He said there were no legal grounds for setting Jackson’s bail higher than normal just because of the singer’s wealth.
Prosecutors said Jackson was likely to flee the country if his bail was reduced.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said €2.5m was ”roughly comparable to what he (Jackson) would spend in a weekend in Las Vegas”, and noted that the pop star has described himself as a billionaire.