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Posted: 11/25/2003 6:17:01 AM EDT


What a surprise... NOT!



HOLY SHIT!!! This is Liz Taylor?!?


www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/25/entertainment/main585441.shtml

Celebrities Rally Behind Jackson

Nov. 24, 2003

(CBS/AP) A number of celebrities who know Michael Jackson and were guests at his Neverland ranch have made no public comment since his arrest last Thursday on child molestation charges.

Until now.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, who has been a close friend of Jackson's for many years, came out strongly Sunday in support of the beleaguered star.

Also commenting on Jackson's situation were Quincy Jones - one of the most influential producers in the music business - who says he sends his prayers to Jackson, comedian Steve Harvey, and rapper Missy Elliot.

Elliot says she prays that Michael Jackson didn't do what he's accused of doing because he is the "biggest influence" in her life. She describes herself as "ready to fight" for Jackson. She says some of her support comes from the fact that she, too, is a celebrity and knows "what it's like to be judged." But Elliot notes that if Jackson is guilty, it's something that he will have to "take up with God."

"I personally don't think Michael is guilty," said Harvey. "I really don't think it is in him to harm a child. I really, really don't."

"I really think that it will help him, clearly in the court of public opinion," said celebrity attorney Trent Copeland on CBS News' The Early Show. "I think from the evidentiary standpoint ... these people could also serve as character witnesses for Michael Jackson and that could be quite important for him."

In a written statement, Taylor predicts Jackson will be vindicated.

The actress, who has a few things in common with Jackson - including having been a child star, winning every award early in her career, and experiencing more heartbreak than romance - also attacked the way the media has been covering the story.

"I thought the law was 'innocent until proven guilty.' I know he is innocent and I hope they all eat crow," said Taylor, who is refusing to comment on camera as a protest of media treatment of Jackson.

For his part, Jackson addressed his fans directly via a new Web site, saying the child molestation allegations made against him are "predicated on a big lie" and he will be exonerated in court.

"As you know, the charges recently directed at me are terribly serious," Jackson said in the six-paragraph statement. "They are, however, predicated on a big lie. This will be shown in court, and we will be able to put this horrible time behind us."

Jackson surrendered to Santa Barbara County authorities on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued alleging that he committed lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. He was released on $3 million bail and immediately returned to Las Vegas, where he had been filming a video. Authorities have said they expect to file formal charges sometime after Thanksgiving.

Ten years ago, Jackson settled another molestation suit involving a young boy. A secretary who worked in the law office that represented the boy now says she believes it was extortion.

"It was just as it was reported by the investigators: An elaborate extortion scheme," Geraldine Hughes told CBS News Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman. "I know it because I was able to see what was going on in the inside."

The parents of the alleged victim had an acrimonious divorce and custody battle in 2001, with allegations of abuse there, too. On The Early Show Monday, Copeland said that could help Jackson in court.

"Clearly, the defense will point out that this family has had a history of problems," he told co-anchor Rene Syler. "Now, that isn't to say that the victim could not have been abused in this instance, but, clearly, it will impact the case in a very significant way."
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