Taylor protests Jackson’s innocence Mon 24 November, 2003 03:59 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Elizabeth Taylor says she believes pop star and good friend Michael Jackson is “absolutely innocent” of child molestation charges and will be “vindicated.” In a statement on Sunday, Taylor also criticised the press for behaving “abominably” toward the self-styled King of Pop, who was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually abusing a young boy. “Their whole reaction is that he is guilty. I thought the law was ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ I know he is innocent and I hope they all eat crow,” Taylor said of the press. The veteran actress, who flew to Singapore to lend support to Jackson on tour when he was last accused of child molestation a decade ago, said she would not be giving interviews to the media because of the way they have treated Jackson. “I believe Michael is absolutely innocent and that he will be vindicated,” Taylor said in her statement. It was her first public comment on the charges since some 60 police officers stormed Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch in the hills above Santa Barbara on Tuesday, looking for evidence to substantiate the allegations of an unidentified young boy. On Friday, Taylor had declined comment on the charges lodged against Jackson. Jackson has not spoken publicly about the child molestation charges but has said in a statement that the allegations are outrageous lies and predicted he would be exonerated. Jackson — who was whisked from Las Vegas to California and back just long enough to surrender to police, hand in his passport and post $3 million (1.8 million pound) bail on Thursday — was due in court for an arraignment on January 9. Prosecutors have said Jackson will be charged under a California law that defines molestation as “arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of” the offender or a child under age. The charge carries a penalty of three to eight years in prison. It was the second time in 10 years that such allegations have been made against the performer, who rose to fame as the young lead singer of the Jackson 5 during the 1960s, and made one of the best-selling albums of all time, 1982’s “Thriller.” In August 1993, police launched a criminal probe after a 13-year-old boy told his therapist Jackson sexually molested him for four months. But in January 1994, Jackson settled a civil suit filed by the boy’s family, and prosecutors said they would not file criminal charges because the boy refused to testify. Source: http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=407955&section=news

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