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On the Eve of Trial Jacko Predicts Acquittal

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson on Sunday condemned recent media leaks in his child molestation case as “disgusting and false,” predicting on the eve of his trial 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.

Jackson said he helps thousands of children and allowed the accuser into his Neverland Ranch only after the boy’s family said he was battling cancer and needed help.

“I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position ever again. I love my community and I have great faith in our justice system. Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court,” said Jackson, who wore a blue shirt and looked directly into the camera.

“I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told,” he added.

Graphic details of grand jury testimony were leaked earlier this month to 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.



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