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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Pundits analyse Jackson verdict
Michael Jackson
Jackson's fans have supported him vocally outside the court
One of the most prominent lawyers in the US has said Michael Jackson was "selectively prosecuted" because of his superstar status.

Professor Alan Dershowitz said Mr Jackson's "extremely weak" case would not have been brought against an ordinary person.

Mr Jackson was acquitted of all child molestation and conspiracy charges against him on Monday.

His acquittal has also been welcomed by his supporters around the globe.

Mr Dershowitz - who helped defend Mike Tyson and OJ Simpson - told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Being a superstar gave him both the worst disadvantage and then ultimately a major advantage.

The Michael Jackson I know is a naive, timid, gullible person who would never hurt a child
Uri Geller

"The worst disadvantage is he was selectively prosecuted for an extremely weak case that would never, ever have been prosecuted if the charges had been brought against an ordinary person.

"Once having been charged, being a superstar of course afforded him the opportunity to hire very good lawyers and very good preparation.

"His fame probably helped him in the ultimate outcome of the case, but this is a case that should never have been brought in the first place."

Stephen Locke, Mr Jackson's former spokesman in Europe, was one of many people who welcomed the verdict.

He told BBC Breakfast: "It must be a huge relief for Michael who, I gather, is shattered and exhausted.

"I'd always believed right from the beginning that this trial was a farce.

"The allegations were completely baseless. I always expected this to be the outcome."

'Terrible mistake'

UK-based psychic Uri Geller, a friend for a number of years, said he was "so pleased" at the California jury's verdict.

He introduced Mr Jackson to journalist Martin Bashir whose documentary - Living With Michael Jackson - sparked off the inquiry when the singer said he sometimes shared a bed with children.

Geller told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he was "immensely relieved"

"Looking at it now in hindsight, I made a terrible mistake," he said.

"I feel today that Martin Bashir betrayed us both.

"He is innocent, and we always believed he was innocent... the Michael Jackson I know is a naive, timid, gullible person who would never hurt a child."

Victory party

Liam Cassidy, of the UK-based Michael Jackson Worldwide Fan Club, said he was "ecstatic" at the verdict.

"It's the best result and it's the only result that we should and could have had. This is a vindication for Michael but also a vindication for the fans who have stood by him."

Mr Cassidy, of Greenwich, south-east London, edits the club's magazine.

He said: "From the very start we have said nothing about the whole thing. The trial, the allegations, everything about it was a farce."

He said the fan club was hoping to organise a victory party in London to be held in the next few weeks, to link up with other clubs around the world.


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