Michael Jackson didn’t attend a rally of 200 supporters held Sunday at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria, Calif., the town where his trial is taking place, but he did address the fans by speakerphone, the Associated Press reports. ”God and the truth are on our side,” Jackson said, phoning from Neverland. ”We will be victorious.”
Mindful of the gag order preventing him from discussing the particulars of the trial, Jackson said little else, but he added, ”I know you’ve traveled from around the world and I’m glad you came.” The fans planned to hold a pro-Jackson March early Monday, before his trial was scheduled to resume.
Monday could begin a difficult phase of the trial for Jackson, as prosecutors are expected to begin introducing witnesses who will testify to five previous molestation claims against the singer, including two that resulted in multimillion-dollar payouts to the accusers. The pop star has denied any wrongdoing in all those cases and has pleaded not guilty to the current charges against him. At the Radisson, fans showed what they thought of the prosecution’s tactic by beating a piñata that bore the likeness of Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon. ”It was meant in fun,” fan club president Deborah Dannelly told AP. ”We don’t mean any harm to Mr. Sneddon.”