Michael Jackson released a video statement on his Web site on Friday addressing his impending trial for child molestation. "I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told," the pop star announced.
Addressing the graphic, 1,900-page transcript of grand jury testimony recently leaked to ABC News, Jackson commented, "In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me. The information is disgusting and false." The performer went on to speak of the "thousands of children" he has aided over the years, claiming his generosity had placed him in a position "vulnerable" to false allegations.
Jackson, 46, was indicted last April on charges of child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent (alcohol) to an alleged twelve-year-old victim. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
"I love my community and I have great faith in our justice system," he stated. "Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court. I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen."
The first round of jury selection in the case begins today in Santa Maria, California, with a total of 750 potential jurors arriving at the courthouse through Wednesday. The process, however, may drag on through early March, with the trial itself expected to continue through the summer.