It is reported that Santa Barbara County (California) has, to date, spent $273K in prosecuting Michael Jackson for alleged child molestation. It is expected that this cost will continue to rise.
The costs covers such items as; court staff hours and overtime for sheriff's deputies.
Although some money comes from funding designated for trials and district attorney's investigations, the overtime pay is extra and outwith the normal budget.
Prosecutors have charged the pop star with seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine. Michael Jackson has pleaded innocent.
The costs of the grand jury proceedings are yet to be budgeted for.
The indictment against Michael Jackson was ordered sealed until Friday, when he is scheduled to appear at a pretrial hearing.
The cost of putting Michael Jackson on trial, and dealing the the associated media feeding frenzy, could not have come at a worse time for the county; it is already facing an estimated $22M deficit on its 2004-2005 budget.
There is of course always a silver lining, the county intends to charge the media fees for use of its facilities and security.
As the old saying goes "It's and ill wind that blows nobody any good! ".