Declaring himself "completely innocent" of child molestation charges, Michael Jackson (search) said Sunday that he is the victim of a conspiracy and asked fans around the world to pray for him.
In an interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson (search), the entertainer would not elaborate on his conspiracy belief, citing the court-imposed gag order that prevents him from discussing his trial in detail.
However, he said he believes he is just the latest of several "black luminaries" to be unjustly accused, citing former South African President Nelson Mandela (search) and former heavyweight boxing champions Muhammad Ali and Jack Johnson as others.
"I just want to say to fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart," Jackson said toward the end of the hourlong interview broadcast live on the Internet.
"I would love your prayers and your goodwill, and please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on as we speak," he said.
Jackson also said he is in "intense pain" since falling in the shower earlier this month, although he said at another point that his health was perfect. He arrived late to court on March 10, wearing pajama bottoms, a T-shirt and walking stiffly, and his representatives said at the time he had been treated at a hospital for a serious back injury.
"I was coming out of the shower and I fell and all my body weight — I'm pretty fragile — all my body weight fell against my rib cage," Jackson said. "And I bruised my lung very badly."
He said the injury has caused him to cough up blood and was so painful that it brought him to tears in court one day when he was seen wiping his eyes with a tissue. He said he remains under a doctor's care.
When Jesse Jackson noted how thin he is, the pop star replied that he has never been a big eater, something he said has always concerned his mother and others, including actress Elizabeth Taylor (search), a friend.
"Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me, to hand-feed me, at times," he said.
"Please, I don't want anybody to think I'm starving, I'm not." he quickly added. "My health is perfect, actually."
The entertainer also denied recent rumors that he is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
"That's not true at all. It's just one of their many schemes to embarrass me. It's to drag me through the mud," he said.
However, he indicated some sort of battle is under way over the music catalog he owns that contains the rights to songs by the Beatles, Little Richard and others.
"There's a big fight going on, right now as we speak, about that," he said. "I can't comment on it, but there's a lot of conspiracy out there."
He spent the first 40 minutes of the interview reminiscing warmly about his career, his family and such childhood musical heroes as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr. and the Beatles, saying he grew up in a household filled with music.
Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press earlier this month that he and Michael Jackson frequently pray together, and he told his audience Sunday that he speaks by phone with the entertainer nearly every day.
Michael Jackson, a Jehovah's Witness, said prayer is helping him get through his trial, which resumes Monday.
"I gain strength from God. I believe in Jehovah God very much," he said.
Asked the lowest point in his life, he responded: "Probably the low point, the lowest point emotionally, is probably what I'm going through."
He said the high point was when he recorded his heralded "Thriller" album of 1982. He set out to make it a disco version of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite," and believes he succeeded, Jackson said, noting it won eight Grammys and was the biggest-selling record of all time.
"I would say that was the pinnacle," he said.