In his first interview since being charged with child molestation, pop star Michael Jackson vehemently denied the allegations but insists there is nothing wrong in sleeping with children, according to

In his first interview since being charged with child molestation, pop star Michael Jackson vehemently denied the allegations but insists there is nothing wrong in sleeping with children, according to excerpts released by CBS News.

"Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists," Jackson told correspondent Ed Bradley in an interview scheduled to be shown Sunday (Dec. 28) on "60 Minutes."

Bradley asked Jackson whether he thought that under the circumstances, it was still acceptable to sleep with children and Jackson answered, "Of course. Why not? If you're going to be a pedophile, if you're going to be Jack the Ripper, if you're going to be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I am not."

Jackson also said the police search of his Neverland Valley Ranch in central California last month so violated his privacy that "I won't live there ever again. It's a house now. It's not a home anymore. I'll only visit."

During the 30-minute interview, conducted yesterday at a Los Angeles hotel, Jackson also discussed his brief time in police custody, including an injury he said he suffered from the handcuffs, and other details about his arrest, CBS said.

In addition to the "60 Minutes" interview, CBS said that an hourlong Jackson music special that was canceled the day after authorities raided his Neverland Ranch has been rescheduled for Jan. 2.

CBS spokesperson Chris Ender said Jackson's "60 Minutes" interview cleared the way for the network to resurrect the music special. "The timing is better," Ender says. "We wouldn't have rescheduled the entertainment special if he hadn't addressed the situation in the Ed Bradley interview."

The reclusive entertainer was arrested on suspicion of child molestation in November and released on $3 million bail. He was formally charged Dec. 18 with seven counts of committing a lewd act on a minor and two counts of administering an "intoxicating agent" for the purposes of molesting a child.

The charges stem from allegations that he molested a boy under the age of 14 at his Neverland ranch earlier this year.

Jackson, who has three children of his own, calls the allegations a "big lie," and his lawyer, Mark Geragos, has said the case is a "shakedown" motivated by greed and revenge. Jackson's upcoming appearance on "60 Minutes" will mark his first interview since the case broke.

His last television interview was in a controversial documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir that ran on ABC and British television in February.

In it, the singer appeared on camera holding hands with a 12-year-old boy with whom Jackson admitted sharing his bedroom. Jackson said he had spent the night with numerous children but denied there was anything sexual about such sleepovers.


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