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Jackson launches Web site in his defense

Fans light candles on Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in support of the singer on Saturday night.
Fans light candles on Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in support of the singer on Saturday night.

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CNN's Miguel Marquez on the boy accusing Jackson -- he appeared in a documentary with the singer.
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Fans of pop star Michael Jackson hold vigils.
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Michael Jackson is booked, bailed and released.
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson on Monday launched a Web site dedicated to countering the molestation charges against him and serve as "a source of official communications."

The Web site (http://www.MJnews.us) contains several statements, and Jackson writes that any communications purported to be from or about him that are not on the Web site are not credible. (Full story)

Jackson's longtime friend, Elizabeth Taylor, said she believes the singer is innocent and the child molestation accusations against him will be proven false.

"I believe Michael is absolutely innocent and that he will be vindicated," she said in a written statement dated Saturday.

She also said she would not give any interviews "because the press has behaved so abominably toward Michael. Their whole reaction is that he is guilty. I thought the law was 'innocent until proven guilty,' " she said. "I know he is innocent and I hope they all eat crow."

Thursday police booked the music star on suspicion of child molestation and released him on a $3 million bond. (Full story)

Sources close to Jackson and the alleged victim said the boy appeared in a documentary about the pop music star.

The boy, who was 12 at the time the film was made, is a cancer survivor who stayed overnight with Jackson in the singer's bedroom at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.

The alleged victim and Jackson appear in the documentary holding hands through much of the interview which caused a stir when it was broadcast in February.

"Why can't you share your bed? The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone," Jackson said in the documentary.

"You say, 'You can have my bed if you want it. Sleep in it. I'll sleep on the floor. It's yours.' I always give the beds to the company."

In June, the boy's family retained the services of Los Angeles attorney Larry Feldman, the source close to the family said.

According to the source, Feldman took the boy to see a therapist and afterward referred the case to the Santa Barbara district attorney's office. Feldman would not say whether he is representing the family.

A second source -- this one close to the pop star -- has confirmed to CNN that the boy in question was indeed the accuser.

Filmmaker Martin Bashir spent eight months as part of Jackson's entourage to produce the documentary, called "Living with Michael Jackson."

In it, Jackson said he allowed children to stay with him in his bedroom, despite a high-profile 1993 investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving a 13-year-old boy.

Jackson was never charged in the 1993 case. He reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement to the boy's family. Jackson said he agreed to the settlement to avoid dragging out the case.

After the program was broadcast, Jackson issued a statement saying he was "devastated" and calling Bashir a "salacious ratings-chaser."

"I am bewildered at the length to which people will go to portray me so negatively," Jackson said in a statement at the time. "I will say again that I have never, and would never, harm a child. It sickens me that people have written untrue things about me."

Under California law, merely sleeping with a child, without "affirmative, offensive conduct," isn't criminal, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon Jr. said in a statement issued in February.

Sneddon's office said formal charges of lewd or lascivious contact with a child younger than 14 would be filed against Jackson after Thanksgiving.

Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned January 9 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. A single count of child molestation can carry a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Family and friends have rallied around the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" since his arrest.

Fans in Los Angeles, New York, Budapest, Rome and other cites around the world held candlelight vigils over the weekend. Other rallies were planned this week in China and Australia. (Full story)


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