Monday marked a victory in the Michael Jackson case for either the prosecution or the defense, depending on who you ask. Judge Rodney Melville issued a tentative ruling covering the admissibility of some 120 pieces of evidence seized during last November's raid on Jackson's Neverland ranch and at private investigator Brad Miller's office. As Reuters and the Associated Press report, Melville said he was inclined to approve of three dozen of the items. However, the BBC reports, the judge also ruled against more than 70 items. He wrote that he was ''concerned'' about another dozen items and was inclined to bar them as well.
The judge will issue a final ruling on the admissibility of all items at hearings in mid-December, after reading written arguments to be submitted by both sides. It's not clear which items made his approved and disapproved list, since the court referred to them only by number. Previously released court documents indicate that authorities seized computer hard drives, cameras, and video and audio tapes. Prosecutors contend that Jackson, accused of child molestation, coerced his alleged victim and his family into taping positive testimonials about the singer, to salvage Jackson's reputation after ABC aired the unflattering documentary in which Jackson's young accuser appeared. The defense argues that authorities overreached and searched beyond the scope of their warrant. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 31.