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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Jackson lawyer quits defence team
Michael Jackson pictured at an earlier hearing
Michael Jackson denies all the charges
Singer Michael Jackson's long-time lawyer, Steve Cochran, has left the star's defence team.

Mr Jackson, who is fighting child abuse charges, said in a statement that the lawyer had taken a "temporary leave of absence" but would still "collaborate".

"I would like to thank attorney Steve Cochran for all of the hard work he has done on my behalf," the star said.

In a seperate statement Mr Jackson's lead defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau denied any clash with Cochran.

Mesereau called Cochran a friend, "brilliant lawyer, and a great credit to our profession".

Mr Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 child abuse charges. He is due to stand trial in January.

In April, Jackson fired Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman, replacing the two attorneys with Mesereau.

The team of Cochran and Robert Sanger had worked for Jackson in lesser roles throughout the case.




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