Michael Jackson Speaks to Jesse Jackson

Pop star tells religious leader that he's a fighter

March 28, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Embattled pop star Michael Jackson, now in the fifth week of his child molestation trial, was interviewed Sunday for an hour by Rev. Jesse Jackson. In the talk, Web cast live via the Internet, the singer maintained his innocence, claiming that he is the victim of a conspiracy and comparing his case to the trials of Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.

Michael Jackson described the ordeal as "very painful," saying that his faith in God was helping him through. "I gain strength from God," he said. "I believe in Jehovah, God, very much. And I gain strength from the fact that I know that I am innocent."

"None of these stories are true. They are totally fabricated," the singer continued. "I'm a warrior, and I know what is inside of me. I'm a fighter, but it's very painful at the end of the day. I'm still human, you know. I'm still a human being, so it does hurt very, very, very much."

Jackson, who has pleaded not guilty to molesting a thirteen-year-old at his Neverland ranch, faces a possible thirty years in prison if convicted. Today, in the Santa Maria, California, courthouse, the judge ruled that the prosecution may introduce testimony about previous allegations from five other boys. A 1990 accuser who was ultimately paid a $2.4 million settlement by Jackson is set to take the stand. At least two of these boys alleged that the pop star had molested them.

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