A Santa Barbara, Ca., judge is considering an appeal by news organizations over his curbs on media coverage of a grand jury that will hear evidence in the Michael Jackson case, reports the Los Angeles Times. Judge Clifford R. Anderson III, asked attorneys for media organizations to submit a list of proposed modifications to his order banning interviews or photographs of witnesses. The grand jury, called by Dist. Atty. Tom Sneddon to hear the case involving allegations of child molestation against the pop star, will hear from a witnesses during the coming two weeks. One early witness is expected to be the 14-year-old boy Jackson allegedly molested at his Neverland Ranch early last year. Jackson has denied the charges.
Grand jury witnesses traditionally have been able to discuss their views, treatment or feelings about a case after testifying, said Theodore J. Boutrous, who represents a coalition of national news organizations. Anderson’s order, banning any communication with grand jurors or witnesses and blocking photographers from taking pictures of witnesses even on public streets, is overly broad and amounts to an injunction “against the world at large,” argued Boutrous.