Jackson Tells Fans 'We Will Be Victorious'
Michael Jackson made a speakerphone call late yesterday (April 3) to some 200 fans gathered for an event to support him, telling the group, "God and the truth are on our side. We will be victorious."Michael Jackson made a speakerphone call late yesterday (April 3) to some 200 fans gathered for an event to support him, telling the group, "God and the truth are on our side. We will be victorious."
The call was the highlight of a gathering in Santa Maria, Calif., where Jackson is on trial facing child molestation charges. The event featured Jackson impersonators, singers and a friend of Jackson's who calls himself "Majestic Magnificent."
He has been in court with Jackson in recent days and said in an interview that he is a magician and longtime friend and confidant of the artist, whom he taught to do magic. In a speech to the crowd, Majestic Magnificent denounced the charges against Jackson as a conspiracy.
Jackson, who was on the phone with his publicist, was speaking from his Neverland Ranch. He told the fans that if he could, he would have been with them at the Radisson Hotel, where they took over a ballroom for the gathering.
"You understand I can't be there today," he said. "I wish I could... I know you've traveled from around the world and I'm glad you came." His first words to the crowd were, "I love you!" which drew a cacophony of screams back: "We love you!"
Jackson, whose comments were limited because he is under a court gag order, told the group, "I truly believe I have the most wonderful fans in the world."
"I'm looking forward to being with you very soon. Keep on dancing. I love you all very much."
When he got off the phone, fans cheered loudly and the program turned to music. The first song played was Jackson's "D.S." which is known to be a bitter denunciation of his prosecutor, Tom Sneddon.
Two young boys led the group in prayer to kick off the event, during which Jackson memorabilia was sold and a raffle was held for a white fedora hat signed by the entertainer. Chants of "Michael! Innocent!" went up periodically. Admission cost $20.
Fan club president Deborah Dannelly of Corpus Christi, Texas, who arranged Jackson's call, said people from 27 different countries traveled to Santa Maria for the gathering.
On Saturday, a few of the fans beat an Incredible Hulk pinata with the face of Sneddon. "It was meant in fun. We don't mean any harm to Mr. Sneddon," Dannelly said.
She said they would hold a vigil at the courthouse this morning, along with an Olympics-style march at which fans will hold flags of the nations they represent -- including Japan, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and France. The fan club's Web site has been averaging 10 million hits a month, she said.
Seany O'Kane, a 23-year-old Irishman who currently lives in Liverpool, England, said he traveled to California to show his support and would be at the trial this week. "We are people who know the truth about Michael and have come together to celebrate his life and legacy," he said.
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