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Pete Townshend Lauds Michael Jackson

Who guitarist calls embattled pop star "something of an angel"

June 24, 2005 12:00 AM ET

While gearing up to play his first Who concert in nearly a year at the London edition of Live 8, Pete Townshend weighed in on the verdict of Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. "I was pleased Michael was cleared," the sixty-year-old guitarist posted on his Web site Wednesday. "His feathers may be badly burned, and he may be damaged in other ways too, but he is something of an angel."

Townshend called Jackson's trial -- which concluded last week in the pop star being acquitted of the ten charges he faced --"absurd." He also relayed a story about how Jackson once funded a circus for a group of special-needs children, including a daughter of one of Townshend's friends. "This little girl believed she was Michael's future wife," Townshend wrote, "and he so kindly allowed her to sit next to him, as his future bride."

Townshend himself faced child pornography charges in 2003. He admitted accessing illicit photos while doing research for a memoir that would document his own abuse as a child. After a four-month investigation, the charges were dropped, but Townshend's name was placed on the National Sex Offenders register for five years.

"I intend to work my way back to normality," he told Rolling Stone at the time.

Since then, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has been at work on an autobiography, a solo music project and the tentatively titled Who2, the first Who album in twenty-three years. For the July 2nd Live 8 show, the Who will perform along with U2, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Elton John, Sting, Coldplay and a reunited Pink Floyd at London's Hyde Park.

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