Jackson Speaks Before His Trial

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, California -- On the eve of his trial, Michael Jackson on Sunday condemned recent media leaks in his molestation case as "disgusting and false," saying he deserved a fair trial and predicting that he would be acquitted.

"In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me," the singer said in a court-approved video statement released on his Web site. "The information is disgusting and false.

"Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court," Jackson added. "I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told."

Graphic details of grand jury testimony were leaked earlier this month to thesmokinggun.com and ABC News despite the efforts of Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville to keep the 1,900 page transcript secret.

The source of the leaks remains the subject of speculation. The prosecution has not commented on the leaks, but Santa Barbara County sheriff's investigators have denied they were responsible.

Melville said Friday he will release the grand jury transcripts and other sealed material once a jury is seated.

Jury selection was set to begin Monday and could last a month as lawyers screen as many as 750 prospective jurors. The trial itself could take five more months.

Jackson, 46, was indicted last April on charges of molesting a boy and conspiracy involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. Some counts accuse him of administering alcohol to further child molestation.

Dozens of adult-oriented books, magazines and DVDs seized at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch -- one with the fingerprints of Jackson and his accuser -- can be used as evidence in the singer's upcoming trial, the judge ruled Friday.

The judge also ruled that Jackson's accuser should testify in open court instead of in a closed courtroom with an audio hookup for the media.


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