Jackson claims to be victim of conspiracy

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The Independent US

Declaring himself "completely innocent" of child molestation charges, Michael Jackson said he is the victim of a conspiracy and asked fans around the world to pray for him.

In an interview broadcast on the internet with the civil rights leader, the Rev Jesse Jackson, the entertainer would not elaborate on his conspiracy belief, citing the court-imposed gag order that prevents him from discussing his trial in detail.

But he said he believes he is just the latest of several "black luminaries" to be unjustly accused, citing former South African president, Nelson Mandela, and former heavyweight boxing champions Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson as others.

"I just want to say to fans in every corner of the earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart," Mr Jackson said, toward the end of the hour-long interview. "I would love your prayers and your goodwill, and please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on as we speak."

Mr Jackson said he was in "intense pain" since falling in the shower earlier this month, an accident that cause him to be late for court that day. The injury, he said, still caused him to cough up blood and was so painful it had brought him to tears in court on several occasions.

He also denied rumours he is on the verge of bankruptcy saying the stories were part of a conspiracy to drag him "through the mud". However he said he was involved in a battle over the catalogue of songs he owns.

Mr Jackson, a Jehovah's Witness, said prayer is helping him get through his trial, which resumes today.

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