NEW YORK – Michael Jackson (search) blasted recent media leaks about his child molestation case as reporting information that was "disgusting and false."
With jury selection set to begin Monday in Jackson's case, the entertainer read a statement to FOX News' Geraldo Rivera in which he declared his innocence.
"Yes, in the last two weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me. Apparently, this information was leaked through transcripts in a grand jury proceeding where neither my lawyers nor I ever appeared. The information is disgusting and false," Jackson said in the statement.
Jackson, who faces charges that he sexually molested a young cancer patient, has been barred from speaking about the allegations, the accusers or the leaks in specific terms. But he was allowed by California Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville (search) to read a prepared statement.
"Years ago, I allowed a family to visit and spend time at Neverland. Neverland is my home. I allowed this family into my home because they told me their son was ill with cancer and needed my help.
"Through the years, I have helped thousands of children who were ill or in distress.
"These events have caused a nightmare for my family, my children and me. I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position again.
"I love my community and I have great faith in our justice system. Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court. I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told."
Jackson made the statement to FOX News two weeks ago but it was released on Sunday on Jackson's Web site.
Rivera asked Michael if there was anything else he wanted to add. At first he said no, but later added, "I would just like for the public to keep my family and myself in their prayers. That would be very nice."
Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to the charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy and plying him with alcohol.
Jury selection in the case begins Monday, and could last six to eight weeks. The judge and attorneys for both sides are expected to screen as many as 750 prospective jurors.
The judge indicated Friday once a jury is seated, he will release the indictment, grand jury transcripts and possibly some police reports submitted as grand jury exhibits in the case.
Also Friday, Melville ruled that dozens of sexually explicit books, magazines and DVDs seized at Neverland ranch will be admitted into evidence at trial.
Melville permitted most of the proposed evidence to be used at trial, but said the prosecution could not refer to the material as pornography, obscenity or erotic. Instead, the words "adult" or "sexually explicit" can be used.
One of the seized magazines has the fingerprints of both Jackson and his accuser, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said.
Zonen also said the 50 print and video items that were seized in 2003 included graphic sexual material that was both heterosexual and homosexual in nature. The material also included nude photos of models who may have been 18 but looked much younger, he said.
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. (search) countered that all the materials seized were legally available. In the case of the magazine with the prints, he said, evidence will show Jackson took it away from his accuser and locked it up.
Melville also ruled that several items could not be used as evidence, including three books seized in 1993 that allegedly show pictures of nude adolescents.
He also ruled that Jackson's accuser should testify in open court instead of in a closed courtroom with an audio hookup for the media.
Prosecutors had wanted to close the courtroom to the media and public when the boy, now 15, and his 14-year-old brother testify, proposing that reporters be allowed to hear their voices through an audio feed. But the judge ruled Friday that the courtroom should be open, adding that he would consider closing it if there were any disruptions.
A coalition of media covering the high-profile case, including The Associated Press, had argued that the boys' testimony should not be closed.
Melville also ruled that the Martin Bashir (search) documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" — as seen in Europe, not the one Bashir did for ABC — is also admissible and may be shown at trial.
The Bashir documentary aired on the ABC television network in 2003. In it, Jackson defends his practice of sleeping in the same bed with children.
A Jackson family attorney, Debra Opri, told "FOX and Friends" Friday morning that she did not think jurors should see Bashir's movie.
"[Santa Barbara County District Attorney] Tom Sneddon (search) is known as 'Mad Dog' Sneddon, and he got his sights on Michael, and this documentary just gave him the fodder," Opri said.
"This documentary was so inflammatory to Michael, and while I don't think Martin Bashir should be taking the stand, he will be used by the prosecution to attempt to lay a foundation to get that documentary in," she continued. "And that documentary is sensationalist — it was edited with an angle of showing Michael as different, a freak."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.