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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Authorities Expect Jackson to Surrender

SANTA BARBARA, California -- Authorities were awaiting the arrival of Michael Jackson early Thursday in this seaside community, where an arrest warrant alleging multiple counts of child molestation awaited the pop superstar.

Jackson's spokesman on Wednesday called the allegations "scurrilous and totally unfounded."

Investigators began waiting for the singer at Santa Barbara's small airport Wednesday, along with a throng of media, but he did not appear. Jackson had left Las Vegas in his private jet Wednesday, but his whereabouts were unknown, according to newspaper reports.

He was expected to surrender to authorities as soon as Thursday, and law enforcement officials said charges would be filed.

"Get over here and get checked in," District Attorney Thomas Sneddon Jr. advised the King of Pop at a news conference broadcast worldwide. Jackson was directed to give up his passport and his arrest warrant set bail at $3 million, authorities said. Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman said Jackson had arranged to travel to Santa Barbara "to confront and prove these charges unfounded."

The 45-year-old singer was in Las Vegas when dozens of law-enforcement agents swarmed his Neverland Ranch compound Tuesday to serve a search warrant.

Jackson was escorted by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies to his own jet and flew from a private terminal at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport on Wednesday, according to an unnamed airport security guard, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Santa Barbara News-Press said Jackson's pilot had not filed a flight plan and neither newspaper reported where the jet was headed.

Jackson is charged by the state with lewd or lascivious acts with a child under age 14, punishable by three to eight years in prison, law enforcement officials said.

"The outrageous allegations against Michael Jackson are false. Michael would never harm a child in any way. These scurrilous and totally unfounded allegations will be proven false in a courtroom," Backerman said. Similar allegations surfaced against Jackson a decade ago, but they never led to the filing of criminal charges and in 1994, the probe became inactive. Jackson had maintained his innocence but reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar civil settlement, and the child would not testify in any criminal proceeding.

Sneddon said this case was different because he had a cooperative victim and because of a change in state law "specifically because of the 1993-94 Michael Jackson investigation." He said multiple counts would be filed against Jackson "in a very short period of time," and noted that no civil case has been filed and none is expected, unlike 1993.

On Wednesday, the television network CBS pulled a Jackson music special planned for next Wednesday on his greatest hits and the impact on pop culture of the former child star who got his start with his brothers as a member of the singing-and-dancing Jackson 5.