The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jacko’s no Jesus, but not far from Gandhi

Los Angeles, May 13: Michael Jackson defended his “pure” love of children and compared himself to Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Princess Diana in filmed interviews shown at his child abuse trial.

The entertainer, who denies abusing a 13-year-old boy, finally defended himself this week, not from the witness box, but in two taped interviews lasting almost three hours and shown late on Wednesday.

In them, he described his troubled childhood and how his terror of his father would make him faint when he walked into the room.

He also explained his love for children, how he saw “God through them” and would never hurt a child. “I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children,” he said. “Adults have let me down.”

As he watched himself on the courtroom screen, the 46-year-old star dabbed his eyes with a tissue. Talking about his charity work with children, he portrayed himself as taking over from a long list of celebrities and historical figures as an advocate for children around the world.

“Mother Teresa’s not here, Lady Di is not here, Audrey Hepburn is not here' there is no voice for the voiceless, and I’ve been doing it for many years,” he said.

Jackson described how he had seen children beat cancer with “just a little love and a little caring”. “I’m not trying to say I’m Jesus Christ,” he said. “I’m just saying we should give a little more attention to the power of love and caring.”

The footage was filmed during interviews Martin Bashir conducted for his documentary, Living With Michael Jackson, in which the singer talks of sharing his bed with children and is seen snuggling up to his accuser. It triggered the criminal investigation which led to the 10 charges Jackson faces.

The prosecution played the documentary at the opening of its case. The defence claims selective editing meant Jackson’s comments were taken out of context and alleges that Bashir misrepresented his intentions when making the film.

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