The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case refused yesterday (Sept. 1) to lower his $3 million bail, citing evidence that the pop star once planned to flee to Brazil with his young accuse

The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case refused yesterday (Sept. 1) to lower his $3 million bail, citing evidence that the pop star once planned to flee to Brazil with his young accuser's family.

The ruling by Santa Barbara, Calif., Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville marked the second time he has refused to reduce Jackson's bail, and it came after an appeals court asked him to revisit the issue.

Melville said the $3 million bail was justified by Jackson's wealth and penchant for world travel, as well as accusations that the entertainer considered leaving the country with his young accuser, identified in court only as "John Doe," and the boy's family.

"The Grand Jury transcript provides detailed evidence that (the) defendant sought to arrange for the Doe family to travel to Brazil, and the statements of the Doe family are that this was being done against their will," Melville wrote.

Melville also referred to accusations of child molestation dating back to the mid-1990s, which never came to trial after Jackson settled with his then-accuser and paid him an undisclosed sum of money.

"[Jackson] has no prior criminal record, but this factor is at least partially offset by the allegation that he has previously engaged in similar criminal conduct -- the prosecution of which may have been derailed by a private settlement with the alleged victim."

Jackson, 45, is free on bail pending his trial on a 10-count indictment that charges him with child molestation and conspiracy, which is scheduled to begin in January. He has pleaded innocent.

"Defendant has the financial ability to hire private jets and has frequently traveled beyond the borders of the United States," Melville said. "While on bail, he received his passport back to travel to England. Although defendant subsequently returned his passport to law enforcement, he may request his passport again for international travel before the January 31, 2005 trial date."

"No amount less than $3 million dollars would provide a financial incentive to return and appear for hearings and trial," he continued.


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