Jackson Pleads Innocent

Judge reprimands pop star for tardiness

January 16, 2004 12:00 AM ET

Michael Jackson entered a plea of not guilty in a Santa Maria, California, courtroom today, to multiple charges of child molestation.

Though hundreds of fans enthusiastically greeted Jackson upon his arrival to the courthouse, he was reprimanded by Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville for being twenty minutes tardy. "You have started out on the wrong foot here," Melville told Jackson. "I want to advise you that I will not put up with that. It's an insult to the court."

Melville scheduled a preliminary hearing for February 13th, during which the court will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to begin a trial.

Jackson stands accused of seven counts of committing lewd acts with a child under the age of fourteen in addition to two counts of administering an intoxicating agent between the dates of February 7th and March 10th. The forty-five-year-old King of Pop was arrested in November and freed on $3 million bail. He was formally charged on December 18th. Since the arrest, Jackson has maintained his innocence.

Despite the controversy, fans have rallied in support of Jackson. Buses of supporters formed a Caravan of Love from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to show their support. Jackson's parents, his brother Jermaine and sister Janet were also in attendance. The singer's legal team also recently acquired a new power player. Jackson's attorney Mark Geragos enlisted Benjamin Brafman, who defended Sean "P. Diddy" Combs on weapons charges three years ago, as co-lead counsel.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »