Michael Jackson's attorney, Thomas Mesereau, read the following statement outside the Santa Maria, Calif., courtroom during a break in a pretrial hearing Friday:

Regretfully, we are compelled to vigorously respond to numerous and false statements being made about Mr. Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was recognized as a musical genius as a child. His life and development were devoted to cultivating his musical talents and extraordinary gifts. Discipline, hard work, and a desire to heal and better this world through his creativity wereo exploit and take advantage of his creative talent and inherent goodness.

Mr. Jackson has donated large sums of money around the world to foster the interests and welfare of our world's children. Early in his life, he learned and believed that while others sought to exploit and take advantage of his vulnerabilities and idealism, children did not.

Believing that children are the true example of God's beauty, innocence and purity, Michael has devoted much of his life to helping the world's children. He has donated millions of dollars to healing children with disease, helping children with AIDS, and traveling the world to emphasize the importance and welfare of our children. He would never harm a child.

Mr. Jackson has been a target of frivolous lawsuits throughout his career. To date, well over a thousand ridiculous lawsuits have been filed or threatened against Mr. Jackson for all kinds of reasons by those who sought to obtain money by exploiting his achievements and love for people. None of these claims involved allegations that he ever harmed a child. However, they involved, for the most part, creative and outrageous attempts to take money from Mr. Jackson.

Throughout his career, Mr. Jackson's desire to create and help our world has been subjected to efforts to exploit, undermine and take advantage of this wonderful human being.

Mr. Jackson has been repeatedly advised by those who stood to make fortunes in his business affairs to pay money rather than face certain false allegations. As a result, many years ago, he did pay money, rather than litigate, two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.

These two false allegations must be placed in a proper perspective. Mr. Jackson has interacted with millions of children. Many millions of children around the world love Michael Jackson and never alleged that he harmed them in any way.

Those who wanted to profit from his good deeds and vulnerabilities are also threatening to destroy his ability to raise his own children and to champion the welfare, integrity, humanity and interests of children around the world. Michael Jackson occupies a world where his privacy is continually violated.

Michael Jackson now regrets making these payments. Nevertheless, these efforts to settle are now being used against him regardless of the merits or the truth behind them. These settlements were entered into with one primary condition. That condition was that Mr. Jackson never admitted any wrongdoing. Mr. Jackson always denied doing anything wrong.

Mr. Jackson had hoped to buy peace in the process. He was advised that while these sums of money appeared large, they were actually very small compared to money he could make in music. Mr. Jackson has earned well over $1 billion in his career. Placed in this perspective, they were very small sums, indeed.

Greed begets greed. Mr. Jackson now realizes that the advice he received was wrong. He should have fought these actions to the bitter end and vindicated himself. The recent publicity about these settlements is unfair and damaging to him, his family and his dedication to the world's children. The false charges he is facing will be battled in a court of law within our justice system. He is innocent and will be vindicated.