Originally created 01/13/04

Michael Jackson's family promises big fan support



LOS ANGELES -- Hundreds of fans from around the world will converge on the town of Santa Maria for Michael Jackson's arraignment on child molestation charges later this week, his family said Monday.

"My brother is innocent; he is 1,000 percent innocent," his brother, Jermaine Jackson, said at an appearance at the mansion Michael Jackson is renting in Encino. "My mother, father, sisters and brothers are overwhelmed at the outpouring of the fans." He declined to take questions.

Diana Dalo, an Italian fan, said fans are planning a "huge gathering" over several days that will include people from Spain, France, England, Canada, Mexico and Japan, as well as from around the United States.

Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Maria on Friday.

"We've had fans calling from out of state who are flying in just for the arraignment," said Angel Howansky, a freelance publicist who is helping coordinate the event. She added that she was helping without pay.

Meanwhile, more than two dozen Jackson lawyers, accountants, bankers, and managers were to meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Monday morning to discuss the singer's business affairs, said Jackson family friend Brian Oxman.

"There is to be a meeting of the brain trusts for Michael's management," Oxman said. "Rumors will be set to rest, and it's to explain how Michael is to handle further actions in connection with his business. They have not specified what it is or who is to be doing the speaking."

By 9:30 a.m. only one attorney, Matthew Geragos, had appeared. Geragos, the brother of Jackson attorney Mark Geragos, refused to talk to reporters as he rushed into the hotel.

Jackson, 45, is charged with seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He's free on $3 million bail pending his arraignment.

The Friday court date also was to include a hearing for news organizations who are asking a judge to unseal documents related to the Nov. 18 search of Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

The news organizations contend that the public was not adequately notified of a request by Jackson's attorney and Santa Barbara prosecutors to keep the search documents sealed, at least until the arraignment.

The documents include the search warrant, an affidavit in which authorities explained their reasons for seeking the warrant, and a list of items seized.

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