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Jackson Spokesman: Pop Star Returning to California - 2003-11-20


A spokesman for Michael Jackson says the pop star is returning to the (the U.S. state of) California to defend himself against charges of child abuse.

The spokesman (Stuart Backerman) said in a statement Jackson, through his attorneys, has arranged with legal officials to return to the city of Santa Barbara, where the entertainer lives.

The spokesman said Jackson plans to "immediately confront and prove the charges unfounded." The spokesman also said Jackson would never harm a child.

Jackson has been in Las Vegas filming a music video.

Earlier Wednesday, police in California issued an arrest warrant for Jackson on multiple counts of child molestation and ordered him to surrender. The sheriff in Santa Barbara (Jim Anderson) said bail will be set at three million dollars.

Santa Barbara officials say if convicted, Jackson could face a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of eight years for each molestation count.

Meanwhile, the U.S. television network CBS says it is postponing a special entertainment show on Jackson due to the criminal charges he faces.

The broadcast was scheduled to air next Wednesday.

Jackson's career suffered in 1993 after similar allegations surfaced that he had molested a young boy. He disputed the allegations and no charges were ever brought. However, the singer is reported to have paid a multi-million-dollar settlement to the boy's family.

information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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