'Anxious' Michael Jackson waits for jury verdict

Michael Jackson is physically shattered but “emotionally resolute” and confident of acquittal as he awaits a jury verdict in his child sexual-molestation case, long-time confidant Reverend Jesse Jackson said in a television interview on Monday.

The well-known United States minister, a Jackson family friend, said he met with the pop star at a hospital overnight on Sunday where Jackson received treatment for a back ailment.

“Emotionally, he is very resolute and very strong as he declares his innocence over and over again,” Jesse told NBC television’s Today show.

“Physically he is in excruciating pain ... He’s had these back spasms and as even we talked last night, he was grimacing in physical pain,” Jackson said of the world-famous singer, who left a hospital near his Neverland estate late on Sunday, about six hours after he was admitted to the emergency room for back pain.

“Through all of that, Michael Jackson’s amazingly strong and resolute in his principal belief that he will be free. He has no qualm with the jury, but he does feel a terrible injustice has been heaped upon him.”

The prosecution claims Michael relied on his fame and fortune to lure his current accuser and other young boys to Neverland and then “groomed” them for sex with porn and alcohol.

“He’s understandably anxious and nervous ...
these are very anxious moments for Michael,” Jesse told NBC, repeating the pop star’s assertion that while he sometimes shared a bed with young boys, there was never anything sexual about the encounters.

“While the behaviour was bizarre, it is not illegal. He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Jackson said, predicting that the singer will be allowed to go free.

“Given the cross-examination [and] the motives of those that did the accusing, I think reasonable doubt is the standard often used, and if it is, he will be acquitted.”—Sapa-AFP

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