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Michael Jackson
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Michael Jackson

This article is about the pop singer named Michael Jackson. For other people with the same name, see Michael Jackson (disambiguation)

Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29, 1958) is one of the most successful popular music singers of all time. He has been called the "King of Pop" or the "King of music video". Because of his eccentric behavior, he is also sometimes derisively referred to as "Wacko Jacko". Jackson's successful career has gained him legions of devoted fans, yet he has been dogged by media fascination with his changing physical appearance and, more recently, repeated accusations of pedophilia.

Table of contents
1 Personal background
2 Jackson 5
3 Solo career
4 2002 controversies
5 Bashir interview
6 Allegations of pedophilia
7 Miscellaneous
8 External links

Personal background

Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana to Joseph and Katherine Jackson. He was the seventh of nine children.

The Jackson children were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses and practiced door-to-door evangelization. Jackson continued to do so after becoming famous, but then in disguise. His career and flamboyant style led to friction with congregation elders. At one point, he was ordered to shun his sister LaToya because she had not been attending congregation meetings. In 1987, he formally left the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jackson has been living at his 11 sq. km (2600 acres, [1]) ranch in Santa Ynez, California, named "Neverland" after the magical kingdom featured in the children's story Peter Pan. In Dec 2003 he said that after it had been searched by police (see below), it no longer felt like a home, and is now a house he just visits. He now lives in Beverly Hills in a $70,000-a-month rented home.

He says that, like Peter Pan, he does not want to grow up. Neverland contains a small zoo and amusement park. About once a week he has been inviting a bus full of (especially sick and poor) children there to have a day of fun. Jackson kept a chimpanzee, Bubbles, in Neverland, which he valued highly, treating him more like a friend than a pet. Bubbles was moved from the ranch after reaching maturity because adult chimpanzees are very strong and can be dangerous.

Jackson's marriages and children

In 1994 Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley; the marriage lasted less than two years, ending in divorce.

In 1996 he married Debbie Rowe. They had a son, Prince Michael, and a daughter, Paris Katherine. They were divorced in 1999. Rowe said that she let Jackson have the children as a "gift".

Around February 2002 Jackson had another son, Prince Michael II, also called "Blanket", with a surrogate mother whose identity has not been disclosed. In late 2002, Jackson stirred up controversy while staying in a hotel in Berlin by briefly suspending him over the edge of the railing of a balcony.

As a security measure against kidnapping, Jackson's children appear in public only when masked or veiled to cover their faces.

In December 2003 Jackson’s parents promised they would look after the three children if they were taken away from their son. Reportedly the children have been interviewed by social workers.

In March 2004 it was confirmed there was an unspecified family matter between Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe, to be handled in mediation.

In July 2004 news was released that Jackson is to be the father of quadruplets, via artificial insemination. The mother is said to be a "struggling actress".

Miscellaneous

Jackson, a vegetarian, claims a strong connection to both children and animals. His favorite pastimes include water balloon fights with children, climbing trees and sleepovers with children. He has written several songs sitting in his favorite tree at Neverland, which he calls Giving Tree, because it is so inspiring. He has several young friends whom he has entertained at Neverland.

Jackson's celebrity friends include actress Elizabeth Taylor and former child actor Macaulay Culkin, who are godparents to Prince Michael and Paris. He is also friends with paranormalist Uri Geller. He has also been friends with rabbi Shmuley Boteach, with whom Jackson founded the now defunct "Heal the World" and "Heal the Kids" foundations.

Jackson seems to have used extensive plastic surgery to modify his appearance, although he claims to have had only three operations: Two "nose jobs"--the first of which he claims was to repair a broken nose resulting from a dancing accident in 1978, and the second to correct imperfections in the first surgery--and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin (Jackson often omits mentioning the cleft when listing his cosmetic surgery, but he confirms the surgery in his 1988 autobiography Moon Walk). Some critics have characterized his plastic surgery and purported "skin bleaching" as an attempt to hide his African-American ancestry. Jackson has insisted, however, that he only uses heavy makeup to mask the effects of vitiligo, a condition that causes white patches on the skin.

Jackson has received numerous music awards including 18 Grammys. Estimates of his album sales worldwide range from 200 million to well over 300 million. His Thriller video is considered by some to be the best music video of all time and the largest step forward in artistic quality in the history of music videos. MTV and Rolling Stone recently named four of his songs ("Billie Jean" #5, "I Want You Back" #9, "Beat It" #23 and "Rock with You" #82) among the 100 greatest pop songs of all time.

Quotation about Jackson (Kathleen Parker): Ambivalence personified, he’s not quite black, not quite white, not quite man, not quite woman, not quite adult, not quite child. [1]

Jackson 5

Five of the Jackson brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, formed the Jackson 5 pop group in the mid 1960s. Michael was the lead singer. The group played at local clubs and bars. It is alleged that they were beaten and abused by their father if they performed poorly.

The Jackson 5 were discovered and signed to Motown Records in 1969. The Jackson family moved to California where the Jackson 5 soon became national stars. Their first four singles "ABC", "I Want You Back", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There" all became #1 hits. Later hits include the trend-setting "Dance Machine". With Motown Records the Jackson 5 made 14 albums, and Michael recorded four albums as a solo artist.

In 1976 they left Motown (and renamed themselves the Jacksons) and they sing with an another brother: Randy. Between 1976 and 1984 the Jacksons produced 6 records and toured internationally. Jermaine and Michael moved on to successful solo careers, as did all of his sisters, Rebbie, LaToya and Janet.

Jackson starred in the film The Wiz (alongside Diana Ross) in 1978. It was here that he met Quincy Jones (the producer of The Wiz), who would later produce Michael's three most acclaimed solo albums (Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad). Off the Wall (released in 1979) produced a record four #1 hits and sold six million copies in the United States.

Solo career

Off The Wall to Thriller

Michael Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall spawned the hit singles and music videos "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough".

In the 1980s Jackson released a progression of solo albums of slickly-produced synthesizer-heavy pop.

His Thriller album was released in 1982, produced 7 hit singles, broke records and quickly became the world's best selling album (as of 2003 it has sold over 50 million copies). The "Billie Jean" music video, released to promote Thriller, became the first video by a black artist to be aired on MTV, and the Thriller short film released as The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller became the world's best selling home video at the time.

"Billie Jean" and "Thriller", as well as "Beat It", were the three music videos released from the album, and have since become three of MTV's most significant videos in history, placing highly on several MTV and VH1 countdowns, and receiving substantial airplay on MTV2 to this day. The album's other singles were "Human Nature" and "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)", both of which were also hits, despite neither having music videos.

While performing for the Motown 25th Anniversary Show on television in 1983, Jackson publicly performed the moonwalk (later his signature dance move) for the first time, stunning TV audiences. At the 1984 Grammy Awards Jackson was nominated for 12 awards and won a record-breaking 8 awards (now equaled by Carlos Santana) – 7 for Thriller and 1 for his narrative on The E.T. Storybook.

We are the World to Dangerous

Inspired by Band Aid he was instrumental in organising the single "We Are the World" (co-written with Lionel Richie) in 1985. "We Are the World" was sung by 44 different singers including Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and sold 7 million copies in the United States, becoming the best selling single of the year, to raise money for USA for Africa – a charity working to raise awareness about and help starving people in Africa.

Jackson starred in the George Lucas/Francis Ford Coppola 3-D film Captain Eo in 1986, which was shown in Disney theme parks until 1998. Minute for minute it is the most expensive film ever produced, costing an estimated US $30 million to make. Jackson created two new songs for the film.

In 1987 Jackson released Bad and began his first solo world tour. He performed to sold out audiences at each concert. The following year Jackson released a silly, playful movie entitled "Moonwalker" and a serious, personal autobiography titled Moon Walk.

Bad was another smash success for Jackson. Its singles and music videos "Bad", "Dirty Diana", "The Man in The Mirror", "Smooth Criminal", "Leave Me Alone", and "The Way You Make Me Feel" provided Jackson with another string of hits. The album's only relatively unsuccessful single, "Liberian Girl", remains to this day as one of Jackson's least seen music videos and least heard singles.

Jackson was awarded a record breaking $890 million contract by Sony and released an album Dangerous in 1991. During the Dangerous world tour Jackson announced the creation of his Heal the World Foundation. Dangerous contained the singles and music videos "Who Is It", "Give In To Me", "Gone Too Soon", and "Will You Be There", which would later become the theme song to the movie Free Willy. But the album's most successful and memorable singles and videos were "Jam", "Remember The Time", "Black Or White", "In The Closet", and "Heal The World". As was becoming the standard for Jackson, the album's music videos were among the most costly, creative, and innovative of their time. "Give In To Me" featured Slash from Guns n' Roses in its video. The video for "Heal The World", to correspond to Jackson's charity of the same name, featured children and people from throughout the world. "Will You Be There" showed Jackson singing in front of scenes from Free Willy. Several of the other videos had complex storylines and dance sequences, and featured cameo appearances by celebrities. The video for "Jam" showed Jackson and Michael Jordan playing basketball and dancing together, while "Remember The Time" was set in a Middle Eastern palace and starred Eddie Murphy as the king of the palace who was trying to entertain his wife, played by Iman. Magic Johnson played the king's chief guard. Jackson's singing and dancing is the thing that finally makes Iman's character happy, in the seven-minute long video. Jackson and Naomi Campbell played lovers in "In The Closet".

Black Or White

But, of all the album's groundbreaking and popular videos, "Black Or White" probably remains the most aired and most remembered today. The original video is over ten minutes long, and premiered simultaneously on MTV, VH1, BET, and ABC, becoming one of the most-watched music video premieres in history. The original video begins with Macaulay Culkin playing a young Jackson fan whose father (played by George Wendt) tells him to turn his music down. Culkin's character, instead, decides to bring his speakers into the living room and cranks the speakers to full blast, which sends the father flying through the roof. He ends up landing in the middle of some exotic location. The music to "Black Or White" then starts, and Jackson proceeds to take viewers on a trip around the world, from country to country and culture to culture. As the song ends, the video features a morphing effect, where by several different people of different ethnicities' faces are morphed one into another, as a symbol of global unity. Although this was not the first music video to feature morphing technology - former 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme (performing as Godley & Creme) used morphing even more extensively in the 1985 video to their song "Cry" - it was the first exposure many people had to the technology, and this effect amazed those who saw the video for the first time. Thanks in part to "Black Or White", the morphing effect has since become somewhat common in music videos today, and can now be done much more cheaply than in the early 1990s. The original video for "Black Or White" then continued, even after the song itself ended, for another six minutes. The last six minutes depicted Jackson doing his infamous crotch-rubbing, smashing store windows, and destroying a car with a metal crowbar. It finally ended with a cameo appearance by Bart and Homer Simpson. However, Jackson's rampage and crotch grabbing caused a good deal of controversy with many parents of young children who watched the video's premiere. MTV and other music video stations decided to cut out the last six minutes of the video for all subsequent airings, and Jackson issued an apology statement to anyone who had been offended. To date, the final six minutes of the "Black Or White" video has only since re-aired in America on MTV2 between the hours of 1 AM and 4 AM, as part of their special uncensored airing of the "Most Controversial Music Videos" of all time.

HIStory to Invincible

HIStory, a double-disc album, was released in 1995. Its first disc had fifteen of his greatest hits and second disc contained fifteen new songs. The album's only new hit singles and videos in America were "Scream", a duet with his sister Janet, whose futuristic music video, with a seven million dollar price tag, is the most expensive music video to date; and "You Are Not Alone", a song which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart and whose video had a cameo from Jackson's then-wife, Lisa Marie Presley. The album's other singles and videos, "Childhood", "Earth Song", "Stranger In Moscow", and "They Don't Care About Us" failed to make any impact in America. "Childhood" is notable for having been the theme song to Free Willy 2. "They Don't Care About Us" caused quite a controversy when it was released due to the anti-Semitic slurs "kike" and "Jew me" in the song's lyrics. This caused American MTV and VH1 to ban the song's music video, even though it garnered heavy airplay on many of America's Boxnetworks. Other than "Scream", the videos from HIStory are rarely played, even on MTV2, and none of the album's singles are played substantially on American radio anymore, making the album a failure overall in Jackson's standards.

In 1997 Jackson released Blood on the Dance Floor a remix album of several of the tracks off of History, which also included 5 new songs. The album only had one single and official music video, the title track, which failed to catch on in America. However, Jackson also produced "Ghosts", a 40-minute short film, which was shown in several movie theaters and used the song "Ghosts" as well as the album's other new songs in the film. The short film "Ghosts" is occasionally played as an hour-long special, with space made for commercials, on MTV and VH1, especially during the Halloween season.

Jackson's 2001 album Invincible – the most expensive album ever – sold only 2 million copies in the United States but sold 5-6 million worldwide (a disappointment considering Jackson's previous success and the cost of the album). As opposed to his earlier albums – which each spawned at least six singles, most of which were generally worldwide smashes – Invincible produced only the singles "You Rock My World" and "Butterflies" in America. "Cry" was also issued as a third single in Europe. "You Rock My World" managed the top ten in America, but only for a week, and its big-budget, 14-minute music video only received sparse airplay on MTV, VH1, MTV2, and BET, usually in a shortened, 5-minute version. "Butterflies" was a top 40 hit in America, but did not reach the top 20, despite a popular radio remix featuring rapper Eve; the song's relative lack of success also allowed no budget for a music video.

In what was perhaps the "Golden Age" of the video clip, some of Jackson's videos were virtually short films with considerable plots, impressive special effects, and featuring Jackson's distinctive dance style.

Jackson held his first live concert in some years at Madison Square Garden, New York, in early September 2001.

One More Chance

In 2003 Jackson made a new song, "One More Chance", written by R. Kelly. It was the only new song on his new Number Ones greatest hits album.

2002 controversies

In late 2002 new scandal arose surrounding Jackson. His most recent album, Invincible, had disappointing sales figures. Instead of blaming this on what was, by most fans and critics, considered mediocre music, he blamed his record label and industry executives, most notably the legendary producer Tommy Mottola, whom Jackson likened to Satan. Jackson also recorded a song featuring various celebrities on vocals in an attempt to raise funds for disaster relief following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack. However, the song was never released. One possible reason was that producer Marc Schaffel has worked as a producer of homosexual pornography (side-note: his house was searched by the police in 2004; it is not clear whether this was related to Jackson).

Also, in late 2002, there was the balcony incident, see above.

In October 2002 various international banks claimed that Jackson was in financial debt into the tens of millions of dollars due to various unpaid loans.

In 2002, concert promoter Marcel Avram sued Jackson in a court in Santa Maria, California, claiming that he reneged on a deal to perform on a series of millennium concerts crossing the International Date Line on the evening of December 31, 1999 - January 1, 2000. Jackson lost the case, and is appealing.

He has been involved in a legal dispute with his former financial adviser, Union Finance and Investment Corp. of South Korea, who claim that Jackson owes the firm $12 million in fees and expenses and that Jackson's extravagant spending may lead to his bankruptcy.

Bashir interview

A Granada Television documentary about Jackson, in which he was extensively interviewed by UK journalist Martin Bashir, was shown in February 2003, following a suggestion by Jackson's friend Uri Geller. This was very special, for it had been extremely rare for Jackson to allow such access to his personal life, or indeed to talk so freely about his traumatised childhood. However, he showed some reserve when asked to discuss other personal issues, such as the plastic surgery he had on his face. In one of his favorite shops and in the renting of rooms in hotels he demonstrated extravagant spending (see also above). The documentary also shows Jackson's former friend Gavin Arvizo, born December 1989, at the time of the filming 12 years old (see also below).

Jackson felt betrayed by Bashir and complained that the film gives a distorted picture of his behaviour and conduct as a father [1]. He claims that Bashir, in the final version of his interview, used only that material which supported Bashir's opinion of Jackson, which was not a favorable one. Following the Bashir interview, Jackson released a second interview, called 'Take Two', which contains material which Bashir omitted and has been shown in a Fox Network special [1]. Take Two features interviews with people close to Jackson, such as his former wife Debbie Rowe, who says that it is on her request that the children wear masks in public. He has filed complaints with the UK's Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission. Gavin's mother, while supporting Jackson, has also complained about the documentary, for including Gavin in it without her consent and especially for creating a distorted image of his friendship with Jackson.

Allegations of pedophilia

1993 allegation

In 1993 13-year-old Jordan Chandler filed a complaint against Jackson in which he claimed that Jackson had molested him sexually. Evidence was gathered, but the case never went to trial; Jackson settled the boy's civil lawsuit with the payment of an undisclosed amount of money. Media speculations range from $2 million to $50 million, depending on the source. As a result of this payment, the boy declined to testify at any criminal trial.

Subsequently Californian law has been modified, to avoid minors having a financial incentive not to testify in a criminal lawsuit. [1] [1]

Jackson's spokespersons have repeatedly stated that the settlement was in no way an admission of guilt, and Jackson has always denied the allegations. As with Jackson in general, people are not of the same opinion; some say it was unmistakably a partial confession on Jackson's behalf, others argue that it was simply successful blackmail.

Jackson can say little more about the allegations and the settlement, because a confidentiality agreement is part of the deal. Chandler's father filed a new complaint against Jackson in 1996 for violating the confidentiality; in 1999 an arbitrator rejected it.

Ongoing concern

Allegations have persisted that Jackson is a pedophile. Jackson admits that several young children, especially pre-adolescent boys (including Macaulay Culkin when he was younger and his younger brother Kieran) have slept in the same bed as him, but he denies having had sex with any of them. He has admitted that he still sometimes sleeps with a child in the same room including his 12 year old friend Gavin, but it was implied that they do not sleep in the same bed (they have told about an occasion where each was happy to sleep on the floor and let the other have the bed). Conversely, Jackson lets his children stay with his friends, for example with Barry Gibb. He emphasizes that children need and deserve lots of love — not sexual, but like having hot milk and cookies, tucking them in, telling a bed-time story, etc.

Under California law, merely sleeping with a child, without "affirmative, offensive conduct," isn't criminal, said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon Jr. in a statement. [1]

2003 and 2004 charges

In November 2003, Jackson was booked and released on bail, after voluntarily returning to California to face charges of "lewd or lascivious acts" with a child under 14.

On November 18, 2003, a team of more than 70 investigators from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department descended upon Jackson's Neverland Ranch as part of an "ongoing criminal investigation." They were reportedly looking for evidence to corroborate the account of then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo that Jackson had sex with him. Along with the warrant to search the premises was a warrant for the arrest of Jackson. Jackson was in Las Vegas, Nevada at the time recording a music video for his most recent single "One More Chance", from his Number Ones greatest hits album, which had been released at midnight, just hours before the warrants were issued and the allegations broke to the media.


Police photograph of Michael Jackson, November 20, 2003
(earlier photo: [1])

On November 20, Jackson flew in a leased jet to Santa Barbara Airport and surrendered himself to California police. Driven by police to the Santa Barbara County Jail, he emerged from the police vehicle in handcuffs. He was charged with "lewd or lascivious acts" with a child younger than 14 under section 288(a) of the California Penal Code. He posted $3 million bail. The judge is Rodney S. Melville, 62. Jackson's lawyers have included Mark J. Geragos (who also defends Scott Peterson) and Benjamin Brafman (who won an acquittal on weapons and bribery charges for P. Diddy), until Jackson replaced them by Thomas Mesereau Jr., who also represented Robert Blake (actor) temporarily, because a lawyer was needed who can give Jackson's case his full attention.

Jackson had been temporarily exempted from the requirement to stay in the US, for a possible trip to Britain ending not later than Jan 6, but he did not use that after all. Shortly after being arrested, Jackson was made to surrender his passport to Santa Barbara authorities.

At the time of his booking, his weight was measured at 120 pounds (56 kg), a notably low weight for a 5'11" (178 cm) middle-aged man.

A series of public vigils to protest his innocence, organised by fans, were held on November 23, but were notable for the low turn-outs.

On November 25, 2003 it was revealed that, unbeknownst to Jackson, the private jet that was chartered to take him and his attorney from Vegas to California was secretly wired with video and audio recording devices. A third party took recordings from this trip and attempted to sell them to major television and radio networks for an extremely large amount of money; all declined to purchase. A restraining order against the jet company has been issued prohibiting the videotape from being shown to any third parties; a massive lawsuit toppling the $500,000,000 mark has been filed by Jackson's party against the perpetrators. Jackson has not paid his travel agent for the flight and is in 2004 being sued over that.

On November 26, 2003, it was revealed that XtraJet, the company that found the recordings and hidden cameras on Jackson's plane, on Monday, showed the video to several news organizations on November 24. FOX News reported that the tape shows Jackson calm and relaxed on the plane. [1]

The uncle of the child who accused Jackson of molestation in the early 1990s, and designated representative for the accuser, has made public declarations (notably on "Larry King Live") stating that during the original sex scandal there were hard-core pornographic tapes depicting children found in Jackson's home, but that they were obtained illegally and thus could not be used to press criminal charges against him.

On December 8th, 2003 The Smoking Gun website posted a memo from the Sensitive Case Unit of L.A's Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), on an investigation jointly carried out with the LAPD in February of 2003. The child in question was reported by a school teacher as a potential child abuse victim. The report refers to Jackson simply as "the entertainer," but it is clear to whom it refers. The boy, as well as his entire family (specifically his sister), insist in the report that no sexual or inappropriate contact with Jackson occurred; that the boy did not even sleep in Jackson's bed. The sister claims to have accompanied her brother on all overnight trips to Jackson's ranch. The case was closed; the charges marked as "unfounded".

Nonetheless, on December 18, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to commit that felony, in February and March 2003, all regarding the same boy under 14.

The felony complaint states that Jackson has seven times willfully, unlawfully, and lewdly committed a lewd and lascivious act, upon and with the boy's body and certain parts and members thereof, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, and gratifying the lust, passions, and sexual desires of Jackson and the boy and that this sexual conduct has been substantial.

Also, that on two of these occasions, Jackson has administered to the boy an intoxicating agent, with intent thereby to enable and assist himself to carry out the previously mentioned act.

Jackson denies and says that the sleepovers were non-sexual. He still describes the boy on whose statements the accusations are based as "a sweet child"; he says the boy is manipulated by greedy parents.

Nation of Islam's chief of staff Leonard F. Muhammad (Louis Farrakhan’s son-in-law) is one of Jackson's supporters. He and other NOI members reportedly have begun playing a role in Jackson's affairs, in particular in the field of security. It has been reported by some sources [1] that Jackson has become a member of NOI. However, after a meeting of top advisers, NOI dominance was denied.

During a 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley, Jackson claimed that he was manhandled by police during his booking. Amongst other things he claimed that his arms were dislocated, the handcuffs bruised his forearms, and that he was locked in a dirty bathroom for over 45 minutes. He has not formally filed his complaints.

The Santa Barbara County police then released video tape showing Jackson's arrest, which seems to go smoothly and without incident. They also released audio tape of his ride into the police station. In it Jackson complains about the handcuffs, and is politely told by an officer how he can relieve the discomfort. He is heard to be whistling (nervously) and he asks for the air conditioning to be turned on; it is. Police allege this proves Jackson's claims are false; Jackson (and his family) claim what is being shown is only a biased view of what occurred: it does not prove that his claims are false, and police avoids showing what would prove his claims to be true.

California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has ordered an independent investigation into Jackson's complaints.

At the prosecution's request the judge has issued a gag order which forbids the following parties to talk to the news media: the defendant, the prosecutor, defense counsel, any attorney working in their offices, their agents, staff, experts, any judicial officer or court employee, any law enforcement employee and any agency involved in the case, and any persons subpoenaed or expected to testify. The purpose is that people among whom a jury has to be selected are not influenced. However, he would consider proposals to allow either side to answer reporters' questions about rumors surrounding the case.

Jackson was arraigned January 16 2004, at the court of Santa Maria. He was admonished by the judge for turning up 20 minutes late. He entered a plea of "Not Guilty". Hundreds of fans and an international media circus surrounded the event. Police will keep the public at some distance next time, for more order and safety.

Judge Melville turned down a media's request for publication of 82 pages of documents and related tape recordings because that would violate the parties' privacy rights and complicate the process of selecting an unbiased jury. It concerns the boy's accounts of what allegedly happened, interviews with his family, statements that came out during the child's psychological counseling and information about the Chandler's case.

It was contained in an affidavit in which authorities explained their reasons for seeking a search warrant for Neverland Ranch.

In a court session on February 13, 2004 it was revealed that the defence had just received 400 pages of evidence from the lead prosecutor and that hundreds more are expected. The judge said he wants the trial to begin before the end of 2004. Both sides agreed that was possible. Jackson was not present. He may also not be at sessions where only prosecution witnesses are required to testify, to determine whether there is enough evidence to start the trial itself.

In the court session of April 2, 2004 the judge ordered papers to be released from a previous unrelated lawsuit started by the Arvizo family; Jackson's defence says they will be used to show Jackson's innocence.

Grand jury proceedings in Santa Barbara have lead to Jackson's indictment on April 21. The grand jury was composed of nineteen jurors; the indictment required the votes of at least twelve jurors. Prosecution witnesses testified without defense cross-examination. The judge has ruled that witnesses before the grand jury can talk to defense attorneys about their knowledge of the case as long as the witnesses do not tell what they saw in the grand jury room or what questions they were asked and their answers. Many grand jury witnesses have been sneaked into the building where the grand jury is meeting, sometimes covered in blankets to hide their identities.

Thus pre-trial hearings to prepare a preliminary hearing were no longer needed.

The new arraignment was on April, 30. The new charges, regarding which Jackson has pleaded not guilty again, were similar to the earlier ones, but with the addition of conspiracy involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

The indictment names five alleged co-conspirators. These names have not been made public, but reportedly could include:

They declined appearing before the grand jury and will plead not guilty if charged.

News organisations' cases for releasing evidence have been heard at a hearing on 28 May 2004. The judge refused to release the full indictment or grand jury testimony.

On July 28, 2004 Judge Melville granted a delay in the trial. The start date is now set for January 31, 2005.

Jackson has requested lowering of the bail. The prosecution is opposed, they argue that Jackson may well consider starting to live in another country as a fugitive: there are several countries of Europe, the Near East and Africa, where Jackson is adored, and several of those countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States. Also they cite Andrew Luster as an example: he fled, notwithstanding his $1 million bail bond, to Mexico.

Gavin

A boy, Gavin Arvizo, born December 1989, featured in Bashir's documentary, is the boy concerned in the 2003 charges; subsequent airings of the Bashir documentary on American VH1 after the 2003 allegations have blurred Gavin and his siblings' faces, as well as muted out his name, which is only revealed as "Gavin" in the documentary. Gavin is officially anonymised as "John Doe" by the media, although his full name is available all over the internet. According to the sources, he suffers from cancer. His parents are divorced, his mother has custody over him and his older sister and younger brother. His father, after having completed classes in parenting and anger management, has applied for having a restraining order against him temporary lifted, to allow him to see his three children. He wants to see for himself how his health is and hopes to find out whether the boy and Jackson have had sex. He blames his ex-wife for having allowed the boy to sleep in the same room with Jackson and claims that she has been in a mental hospital, and that she sometimes coaches her children to lie. Gavin's health was precarious as of early 2004, leading many to speculate that he may not survive through Jackson's trial.

Miscellaneous allegations

On April 14, 2004 it was announced that the LAPD was investigating another allegation of child abuse, potentially committed by Jackson. The only information the LAPD was willing to release about this new case was that the incident allegedly occurred in the late 1980s. If it happened before 1988, California's statute of limitations may have expired on the case. Attorneys for Jackson claim that the new allegation is groundless. The LAPD has stated that "no charges will be sought" in the case, after a two-month investigation found "no evidence that any crime occurred".

In April, 2004, Scott Thorson, former lover of Liberace, claimed in The National Enquirer and on television interviews, that he had had sex with Michael Jackson in 1979 and thereafter, and claimed that he had seen what appeared to be child pornography in Jackson's possession. [1]

Miscellaneous

On February 27th, 2004, Jackson was stopped by police while vacationing with his children near Aspen, Colorado, where he went because his children wanted to see snow. Jackson had been shopping at a Wal-Mart earlier in the day wearing a ski-mask. Employees found this suspicious and called the police with a description of his vehicle. The incident led to nothing as he was pulled over, asked to reveal his identity, and then left to go on his way.

Jackson continues to be plagued with seemingly press-invented rumours; partly they are unrelated with his current court case; tabloids allege that he is in Colorado seeking treatment at an in-patient addiction clinic.

In 2004, film director Kevin Smith told Playboy magazine that Jackson wanted to make a feature movie entitled Hot Rod. This film would feature Jackson as a man with the ability to transform into an automobile, and an as-yet-uncast adolescent male companion who rides Jackson everywhere while he is in his car state.

Jackson has been considering a tour of Africa in May or June 2004 to raise money to fight AIDS, if the court will let him. The countries he would visit would include Zimbabwe, South Africa and Senegal. At some stage in April, officials in Namibia expected him, but that was due to miscommunication.

In 2004, a South Park episode titled "The Jeffersons" aired in which Mr. Jefferson moved to South Park. Mr. Jefferson was based on Michael Jackson. Mr. Jefferson wore a white glove on one hand, had a son named Blanket, called people ignorant, and had his nose pulled off.

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