- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — Michael Jackson’s attorney said yesterday he is convinced that the pop star “has never molested any child,” but he said Mr. Jackson would no longer let children or their families sleep in his room.

“He’s not going to do that because it makes him vulnerable to false charges,” lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. said.

Mr. Mesereau said he thinks Mr. Jackson will continue to be “a convenient target for people who want to extract money or build careers at his expense.” As a result, the lawyer said, Mr. Jackson will have to change his lifestyle and “not easily allow people to enter his life.”

Mr. Jackson was acquitted Monday on charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Neverland ranch.

The Jackson Web site mjjsource.com trumpeted the acquittal with graphics declaring “Innocent” and showed a hand giving a victory sign.

A scrolling calendar highlights historic events such as “Martin Luther King is born,” “The Berlin Wall falls,” “Nelson Mandela is freed,” and finally, “June 13, 2005, Remember this date for it is a part of HIStory” — an apparent reference to Mr. Jackson’s 1995 album, “HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I.”

Aside from the Web site message and attorney comments, there was no statement from Mr. Jackson or his family.

A raucous welcome greeted Mr. Jackson as he returned to his Neverland ranch on Monday afternoon. As a convoy of black sport utility vehicles carrying him and his entourage pulled through the gates, his sister LaToya Jackson rolled down a window, smiled widely and waved. The crowd responded with a euphoric cheer.

“All of us here and millions around the world love and support you,” proclaimed a banner strung across a fence by the compound in Los Olivos, Calif., that Mr. Jackson said he created to provide himself with the childhood he never enjoyed.

“It’s victory,” said Tracee Raynaud, 39. “God is alive and well.”

Despite the glee of Mr. Jackson’s fans, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Monday night showed that 48 percent of Americans said they disagreed with the not guilty verdict, compared with 34 percent who agreed.

The Gallup poll was based on a telephone survey of 635 adults and had a margin of error of four percentage points.

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