The singer Michael Jackson is due in court today (April 30) to hear the charges he faces for the alleged child molestation of a 12-year old boy.
The pop star will appear at the hearing in the same Californian courtroom where he entered a not guilty plea on January 16, though will be accompanied by his new lawyer Thomas Mesereau. Jackson parted company with high-profile lawyers Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman last week.
During a secret indictment by a grand jury in Santa Barbara on April 21, it was decided that there was enough evidence to take the star to trial.
Following last week's indictment, it is not known whether Jackson still faces the charges he pleaded innocent to in January, as details have been not made public ahead of today's hearing, reports nme.com
According to khnl.com Jackson says, "My life is at stake," and he says he must be able to feel confident that his interests are "of the highest priority."
The statement goes on to say, "I am innocent of these false charges, and will aggressively seek to clear my name."
Jackson says he's hired Thomas Mesereau as lead counsel.
He says Mesereau will work with Jackson's long-time attorney, Steve Cochran. And he says Santa Barbara attorney Robert Sanger will "remain on the team."
Meanwhile throngs of fans are expected at Santa Barbara County Superior Court this morning in Santa Maria, California as the pop star is arraigned on seven counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and two counts of giving alcohol to a minor.
Police were today hoping that there would be no repeat performance of the frenzy.
Barricades were being put in place to keep fans away from the star. Those who cross them will be taken into custody, police said.
A new chain-link fence has also been erected around the courthouse.
As many as 2000 fans were expected at the court. Jackson’s official website has details of special bus services to take fans to the court.
Santa Barbara Police Chief Dan Macagni said he was diverting all extra resources to the court. He pleaded with Jackson not to "meet and greet" fans as he entered the court.
Jackson was to be accompanied by the well-known lawyer Thomas Mesereau.
The singer is charged with seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine. He is currently free on £1.7 million bail, inform scotsman.com