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Pep Rally For Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson fan Dieter Gijsomans from Belgium takes a swing at a pinata with a photo of Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon's face attached Saturday, April 2, 2005, in Santa Maria, Calif. Jackson fans who met in a local park to organize a rally slated for Monday, April 4, 2005, took turns beating the effigy until it was destroyed and its contents of candy spilled out.
AP Photo/Santa Maria Times
On the eve of what could be a key day of testimony in his child abuse trial, Michael Jackson took time out for a pep rally of sorts, telling fans that God and the truth are on his side.

Prosecutors Monday plan to call witnesses who will testify about past incidents in which there were allegations of suspicious behavior involving the pop star and children.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a boy at his Neverland ranch in February or March 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the family captive to get them to make a video rebutting a television documentary that aired on Feb. 6, 2003.

Both the prosecution and the defense have a lot riding on Monday's testimony, says CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

"Jackson's defense all along has been that he is the victim of a conspiracy by the family of his accuser," says Cohen. "Jackson's attorneys are going to be focused upon one pattern they say all these witnesses have: an interest in making allegations against Jackson for money."

Jackson's accuser, says Cohen, "has serious credibility problems. If these other witnesses testify more convincingly, and if jurors believe them, it necessarily helps shore up all of the prosecution's case."

"Prosecutors," says Cohen, "need these jurors to make the alleged victim in this case seem more credible and to try to make jurors believe that Jackson has a habit and a pattern of this sort of behavior."

Sunday night, Jackson appeared via speakerphone at an event in Santa Maria attended by some 200 fans, featuring Jackson impersonators, singers and a magician friend and confidante of Jackson's who calls himself "Majestic Magnificent."

Majestic Magnificent - who's accompanied Jackson to court several times lately - spoke to fans Sunday night, denouncing the charges against Jackson as a conspiracy.

The singer stayed home at Neverland but, with his publicist, made a speakerphone call to the rented hotel ballroom packed with fans, telling them: "God and the truth are on our side. We will be victorious."

"I love you!" said Jackson, collecting an earful of screams from fans who shouted back: "We love you!"

Jackson apologized for not being able to be at the hotel to personally thank his fans - who are expected to hold another rally for him Monday outside the courthouse - for their support.

"You understand I can't be there today," said Jackson. "I wish I could... I know you've traveled from around the world and I'm glad you came."

"I truly believe I have the most wonderful fans in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to being with you very soon. Keep on dancing. I love you all very much."

When he got off the phone, fans cheered loudly and the program turned to music. The first song played was Jackson's "D.S." which is known to be a bitter denunciation of his prosecutor.

Two young boys led the group in prayer to kick off the event, during which Jackson memorabilia was sold and a raffle was held for a white fedora hat signed by the entertainer. Chants of "Michael! Innocent!" went up periodically. Admission cost $20.

On Saturday, a few of the fans beat a pinata with the face of prosecutor Tom Sneddon. "It was meant in fun. We don't mean any harm to Mr. Sneddon," fan club president Deborah Dannelly said Sunday.

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