Art Harris of CNN interviewed Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon about the Michael Jackson child molestation case, where Sneddon expressed regret for making the press conference to announce the charges last week festive or joking. Read on for a transcript.
HARRIS: But now in an exclusive interview with CNN, he concedes it was unprofessional and wants to apologize.
SNEDDON: I think the criticism was valid. I think that, to some extent, it was inappropriate. I feel bad about it.
I feel bad about it because I think I should have known better. I feel bad about it because somebody would assume that I’m making light of a thing where I know there’s a serious crime, and that there are victims that have been hurt.
HARRIS: He says there was no personal vendetta against Jackson, even after he was unable to bring charges when is an alleged victim, a 13-year-old boy, declined to testify in 1993. Before filing charges this time, he says, he wanted to make sure the pieces were in place.
SNEDDON: It just doesn’t make any sense that the sheriff and I would do something that is doomed in the long run to fail. We have a responsibility. We didn’t go looking for this case.
It came to us. It came to them first. They brought it to me after they had done some investigation.
HARRIS: His staff prosecutors reviewed it, too.
SNEDDON: From our perspective, it was an investigation that was specifically related to something that was criminal activity.
HARRIS (on camera): An actual complaint?
HARRIS: A child harmed?
HARRIS (voice-over): Charges that Michael Jackson denies, calling them a, “big lie.” But Sneddon says this time, unlike 1993, there’s a victim with courage to stay the course and willing to testify.
SNEDDON: I would not have filed the charges had we not had a victim we felt was cooperative and supportive.
HARRIS: A victim now in hiding and under protective custody, sources say. A victim of an alleged sex crime, says Sneddon, which is never easy to prove, even in the best of circumstances. And serious.
SNEDDON: The more corroboration that you have for your child victim, the better off you usually do. And whether that’s this case or any case — and we’ll leave that for the jury and the courtroom. And we’re going to keep focused.
HARRIS: And serious.
Art Harris, CNN, Santa Barbara, California