Jackson appears in court
Michael Jackson has appeared in a Californian court over child molestation claims.
16:33 18 September 2004
Michael Jackson has appeared in a Californian court for a pre-trial hearing over child molestation claims.
Dressed in a glittery white suit, Mr Jackson was in court to watch the mother of a boy he is accused of abusing, give evidence against him.
The 36 year old woman, identified only as "Jane Doe" claimed that Jackson and his entourage had kept her family prisoner at the star's Neverland mansion and had threatened sending them to Brazil in order to silence their claims of abuse.
Mr Jackson's lawyer, Tom Mesereau cross-examined the woman for over two hours in a bid to get certain evidence against his client dropped from the trial, which will start in full on January 31st 2005.
Addressing past claims of child abuse, Mr Mesereau told the court that his client had been pressurised by music industry bosses to make payments to his accusers in order to avoid negative publicity.
"Many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he has harmed children. Mr Jackson now regrets making these payments, Mr Mesereau said.
Mr Jackson, who remained stony faced during the proceedings denies 10 child molestation charges.
He was accompanied in court by members of his family, including sisters, La Toya and Janet. The group were greeted outside the Santa Barbara County courthouse by loyal fans, some of whom had arrived as early as 0400 local time (1100 GMT) in order to get a seat in the courtroom.