Jackson attorney fined by judge
But not before psychologist admits he knew private eye
SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case fined one of the pop star's lawyers $1,000 Tuesday after he refused to back off a line of questioning the judge had told him was off-limits.
The issue concerned repeated attempts by Brian Oxman, a Jackson family attorney, to get Dr. Stan Katz, the psychologist who interviewed the alleged victim and concluded that molestation had taken place, to acknowledge that a private investigator in the case was also his patient.
The boy and his family had been referred to Katz by attorney Larry Feldman, who also referred another boy and his parents to the doctor in 1993 regarding molestation allegations against Jackson
The singer resolved the previous allegations with a nearly $20 million out-of-court settlement, and no charges were filed.
Katz testified Tuesday on the second day of a pretrial hearing in the case that the first time he had heard of the investigator, Bradley Miller, was in a meeting with Feldman in June 2003.
"He just mentioned that an investigator named Brad Miller had made a videotape of the minor children," Katz said in response to a question from Oxman.
He said the next time he had heard Miller's name was in news stories about a break-in at the investigator's office.
Oxman then dropped a bombshell.
"Bradley Miller is a very special patient of yours, isn't he, Dr. Katz?" Oxman asked.
Katz claimed doctor-patient privilege and said he could not discuss his patients. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville backed up Katz's assertion.
Katz then admitted that he knew Miller because he had worked on family law cases with the investigator.
Melville warned Oxman two times to back off that line of questioning. When Oxman failed to heed the warnings, Melville imposed the sanction, payable immediately.
Jackson, 45, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine.
At issue in the hearing, which began Monday, is the defense's claim that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon violated attorney-client privilege between Jackson and his former attorney, Mark Geragos, when he conducted a search of Bradley Miller's office in November 2003.
The defense says Sneddon knew or should have known that Miller was working for Geragos at the time.
The defense wants any information obtained in the search to be considered attorney work product and therefore inadmissible in evidence.
Sneddon maintains he did not know that Miller was directly employed by Geragos.
Sneddon has a long history with Jackson. He investigated the molestation allegations against the pop star in 1993, and the Jackson family has since said Seddon has an ax to grind with him because the settlement precluded criminal charges.
Santa Barbara County sheriff's investigator Jeff Klapakis, who has led the Jackson case since February 2003, testified Tuesday that the sheriff's department did not know Miller worked for Geragos.
"It dawned on no one ... that Mr. Miller was an investigator hired by an attorney, namely Mr. Geragos?" asked Jackson defense attorney Steve Cochran.
"That is correct," Klapakis said.
The investigator said the department sought search warrants for Miller's office because the mother of the alleged victim said that some items belonging to her might be there.
Klapakis said the department did not notify police in Beverly Hills, where Miller's office was situated, about the warrants because it feared there would be a leak and that Miller would remove the items it was seeking.
Among the items taken from Miller's office during the search were a videotape and letters. The defense wants those items excluded from the evidence at trial.
Motion to quash warrants rejected
In other matters, Melville turned down a defense motion to quash warrants used to search Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County in November 2003.
The defense contended that investigators used inaccurate information in making their case for the warrants. But Melville said that even if the information wasn't accurate, authorities still had enough justification for them.
A number of scheduling problems also have arisen in the case.
Defense attorneys had wanted to question the alleged victim's mother, identified as Jane Doe, in the hearing, but the prosecution told Melville the woman could not appear until the end of September because of complications from a C-section she underwent to deliver a baby July 27.
Melville said such a delay was "unsatisfactory to our timeline."
Also, Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. told the judge that he must appear in Alabama the last two weeks of September for a death penalty case.
Melville has already moved the projected start of the trial from September to the end of next January.
The sheriff's department imposed tight security around Jackson's appearance at the courthouse in Santa Maria for Monday's session after it received threats of bodily harm against the pop star, sources close to the case told CNN. The department refused to comment.
Jackson was not in court Tuesday.
CNN's Miguel Marquez and Dree deClamecy contributed to this report.