Jackson pleads his innocence
13:30 31 January 2005
Michael Jackson has sensationally spoken out on the eve of his child abuse trial - branding the allegations he has been accused of as "ugly" and malicious".
The troubled singer released a video, in which he describes 15-year-old Gavin Arvizo's claims that he sexually assaulted him as "disgusting and false", ahead of the trial, which starts today (31.01.05) in the sleepy Californian town of Santa Maria.
Speaking directly to the camera, the 46-year-old star pleaded on his website: "Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court."
Jackson also hit out at information about the case, including claims he taught cancer-suffer Gavin how to masturbate, being leaked to the media before the trial started, saying it jeopardises his chance of a fair hearing.
He said: "In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me.
"Apparently, this information was leaked though transcripts in a grand jury proceeding where neither my lawyers, nor I, ever appeared. The information is disgusting and false."
Jackson is accused of child molestation, attempted molestation, conspiracy to abduct a child, false imprisonment, extortion, and administering alcohol to a minor.
The trial, which begins with the selection of a jury, could last up to six months.
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