The Michael Jackson Watch

Your guide to pop music's biggest thriller

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They're not rushing out to buy his Number Ones album, but fifty-eight percent of people polled by Gallup think Michael Jackson should continue making music. Fifty-one percent said they thought the sex abuse allegations were probably true, and only seven percent said they were definitely not true . . .

An online merchant began offering a bootleg Jackson shirt last week that parodied the ubiquitous "Got Milk" ads. The shirts, available at (store.yahoo.com/palleyd/michaelj-tee.html) feature Jackson's booking photo with the tag line "Got Kids?" . . .

Jackson is expected to return to Neverland on Friday to begin work on a television special in which he will attempt to clear his name. According to Entertainment Tonight, the singer will then try to sell the special to a network.

Anticipating a media crush when charges are announced on Thursday, Santa Barbara County prosecutors have hired the public-relations firm Tellem Worldwide, whose clients have included Rent-a-Wreck, Nickelodeon, Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and PETA. Jackson family spokesperson Brian Oxman slammed the decision, saying "A district attorney is supposed to try the case in court, not in the press" . . .

The psychiatrist who's been seeing Michael Jackson's accuser case is the same one who worked with the child who accused the singer a decade ago. According to media reports, the boy's mother went "shrink shopping" last year and chose Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Mathis Abrams on the advice of lawyer Larry Feldman, who also represented the boy in the first Jackson case . . .

A dozen Jackson supporters rallied outside the Santa Maria courthouse over the weekend in support of the singer. Among the demonstrators was a preacher, a handful of preschoolers and the rally's organizer, former Jackson impersonator Tracee Reynaud, who helped print up more than 1,000 fliers for the event, which read, "Justice for one, justice for all, stop trying to make Michael Jackson fall" . . .

Jackson's parents took to the airwaves to defend their son last week. Mother Katherine Jackson offered to adopt the pop star's three children if they are taken from him . . .

Brother Jermaine Jackson said that authorities roughed Michael up during his arrest on November 20th. Short on specifics, Jermaine said his brother had proof that police were indelicate with his brother, including pictures of scrapes on his elbows that "will show you everything." A Santa Barbara police department spokesperson denied the charge.