The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Friends, family offer support

Santa Barbara (California), Nov. 20 (Reuters): Michael Jackson will fight child molestation charges against him “tooth and nail” and believes he has been wrongly accused, the superstar’s friends said today.

Friends who spoke to Jackson before he left Las Vegas said the superstar was ready to fight the multiple charges of child molestation set to be filed against him. “He feels he’s been wrongly accused and he is going to fight this tooth and nail. He is at war right now and he will use every weapon he has to fight these charges,” said Steve Manning, a friend who was in Las Vegas with Jackson.

Manning said Jackson’s family flew into Las Vegas to offer moral support after the allegations emerged. “They really are behind him 100 per cent,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.

He described Jackson’s mood as upbeat. “He was joking around, talking to his brothers, his parents and his sisters and looking forward to getting these charges behind him,” Manning said. Jackson, who has three children of his own, was the subject of similar child molestation allegations 10 years ago by a 13-year-old boy.

Lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who defended Jackson a decade ago but is not his lawyer this time, said he had spoken to his former client, who told him he was innocent. “This is a sad thing for everyone — for the victim, for Michael and everybody. My advice to him was to stay positive, to maintain his innocence and to get ready.”

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