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Authorities deny charges by Michael Jackson

Singer's spokesman quits, citing 'strategic differences'

Jackson is shown leaving a county jail in November after he was booked on molestation charges.
Jackson is shown leaving a county jail in November after he was booked on molestation charges.

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Michael Jackson
Crime, Law and Justice

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- California authorities on Monday denied accusations by singer Michael Jackson that he was roughed up by sheriff's deputies earlier this month when he was booked on child molestation charges.

The pop star made the charge in a television interview in which he also said that despite his legal woes, he still sees no problem with having children sleep in his bed.

"Why not? If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not," he told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday night. "That's how we were raised. And I didn't sleep in the bed with the child. Even if I did, it's OK. I slept on the floor. I give the bed to the child."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department denied Monday that Jackson had been abused while being booked, saying he was treated with "courtesy and professionalism" throughout the process.

"Both his attorney and his personal security thanked the Sheriff's Department for the level of cooperation and professionalism demonstrated," the department said in a statement.

Jackson told "60 Minutes" interviewer Ed Bradley that the entire booking process was meant "to try and belittle me, to try and to take away my pride."

Earlier in December prosecutors charged Jackson with seven counts of child molestation, accusing the 45-year-old pop star of having "substantial sexual conduct" with a boy under 14 in February and March. His accuser is a cancer-stricken boy who appeared with Jackson in a documentary in February.

Jackson also faces two counts of administering an intoxicating agent for the purpose of a committing a felony. (Full story)

Jackson is free on $3 million bond and is scheduled to be arraigned January 16. His lawyer, Mark Geragos has compared the accusations to a "shakedown."

Jackson said that when he surrendered to face the charges in November, sheriff's deputies dislocated his shoulder by manhandling him, fastened his handcuffs tight enough to leave his wrists swollen and locked him in a feces-smeared restroom for about 45 minutes.

"It stunk so bad," he said. "Then one of the policemen came by the window, and he made a sarcastic remark. He said, 'Does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell? Is it good?' And I just simply said, 'It's all right. It's OK.' So I just sat there and waited."

As a result of his treatment, he said he is unable to sleep or raise his arms. He displayed a photograph during the TV interview that showed a long, blotchy bruise and swelling of his right forearm.

But video taken after his arrest showed him waving to onlookers with both arms as he left the jail, raising his right arm to flash the peace sign.

Meanwhile, Stuart Backerman, the worldwide spokesman for Jackson, said Monday he's resigning his position, citing "strategic differences in the direction that things are going."

Backerman had been issuing statements on behalf of Jackson to the media, and on a Web site created to put forth the singer's official comments.

CNN correspondent Frank Buckley contributed to this report.

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