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Jackson Speaks: To Geraldo

Michael Jackson is under a court-imposed gag order and cannot talk about his child molestation trial. But Jackson, who hasn't spoken to the media since his indictment last year on the charges he's on trial for, got clearance to say a few things about the case in an interview two weeks ago with Fox News Channel correspondent Geraldo Rivera.

Rivera shared tape of some of Jackson's comments with viewers of The Early Show Friday, and filled in co-anchor Hannah Storm.

Rivera noted that everything Jackson said about the case had to be approved by the judge, who has imposed a gag order on participants in Jackson's trial.

Jackson denied guilt, and said he's convinced he'll be vindicated. Jackson also said he won't put himself in a vulnerable situation again, and will stop the sleepovers at his Neverland ranch.

Rivera told Storm, "He has always defended (the Neverland sleepovers) as innocent. ...He's tried to put it in the context of Neverland and innocent childhood fun. Now he understands that there are some social norms where the taboo is so profound that you just can't dare to try to cross it. So he has vowed never to do that."

Rivera asked if the rumors about Jackson hurt, and Jackson responded, "Yes, but I've become immune in a way, too. I'm very strong, and I have rhinoceros skin, but at the same time, I'm human. Anything can hurt like that, but I'm very strong. And i just don't like people hearing about such false information. ...People come at celebrities. We're targets, but truth always prevails."

When Rivera noted that Jackson owned Neverland long before he had his own children, Jackson expalined that, "It gave me a chance to do the things I never got to do when I was little. We couldn't go to movie theaters. We couldn't go to Disneyland. We couldn't do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard, you know, and we enjoyed it. We did enjoy it, but (Neverland) allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world, everything that I love is there."

Rivera also spent time with Jackson and his three kids, and says Jackson seems to enjoy fatherhood, and the kids look happy and healthy.

"Once you get past the packaging," Rivera told Storm, "Michael is a very normal person. And to see him with his children -- we spent the whole day together. It was Michael, me and the three kids. The 5-year-old and 6-year-old and the toddler. He's negotiating between the Disney Channel and the Nickelodeon channel, between Fruit Loops and Cheerios. 'Let me change the diaper. Watch the stairs.' It's so absolutely typical of the dad trying to herd the kittens, as I have often been in that situation.

"If people would (just) give hem a chance. ...Michael Jackson is weirdly packaged, but inside, I think, there beats the heart of a normal man."

In the celebrity interview, which Fox isn't billing as a hard news investigative piece, Jackson talks about how he and his family are coping with the media, about returning to the recording studio for a Tsunami relief project, and about the uproar over sister Janet's "wardrobe malfunction" at last year's Super Bowl. Rivera says Jackson also speaks out against rapper Eminem, and addresses the future of his own career.

The interview marks the first major television interview for the embattled King of Pop since he spoke to CBS News Correspondent Ed Bradley in December 2003, shortly after his arrest on the molestation charges.