The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Witness Jackson masks flaked nose

Santa Maria, Nov. 14 (Reuters): Reclusive pop star Michael Jackson, clutching a surgical mask over his face, swept into a California courthouse yesterday accompanied by a police escort, screaming fans and a white-gloved chauffeur.

The self-styled King of Pop was called as a hostile witness in a $21 million breach-of-contract lawsuit over two cancelled millennium concerts in a case held in Santa Maria, the central California town nearest his Neverland Valley ranch.

Jackson maintained in three hours of grilling from a hostile lawyer that it was the promoter and not he who cancelled the shows and that he even practiced for them by dancing in front of the mirror in his bathroom. He is to continue his testimony.

He arrived for his first day as witness in a black and silver chauffeur-driven van and a police motorcycle escort that took him up to the steps of the courthouse in this coastal town about 281 km north of Los Angeles.

About 100 fans waiting outside screamed and chanted Jackson’s name from behind barricades and a throng of reporters watched his heavily guarded entry into and exit from the packed courtroom, where some 30 people won seats in a lottery for a rare, up-close glimpse at the star.

Jackson entered the court in black slacks, red corduroy shirt, black eyeliner, and what appeared to be pink lipstick. He had skin flaking from his nose and sported a wispy goatee.

He appeared bemused during much of his testimony, often smiling or laughing to himself.

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