As of midnight Thursday, Michael Jackson had yet to surrender to Santa Barbara authorities to face multiple charges of child molestation, Reuters reports. Officials were giving the singer, who has been in Las Vegas for the past week shooting a music video, a chance to turn himself in and raise $3 million bail.
Reporters, who gathered late in the evening Wednesday at an airport near Santa Barbara, saw a private jet believed to be carrying Jackson land and sit on the tarmac for over an hour. They reported the plane took off again without anyone leaving the aircraft.
Jackson‘s spokesman Stuart Backerman has said the singer will prove these “outrageous allegations” false, and friends and family are rallying around him.
“He feels he’s been wrongly accused, and he is going to fight this tooth and nail,” friend Steve Manning, who had been with the singer in Las Vegas, told ABC’s Good Morning America. “He is at war right now and he will use every weapon he has to fight these charges.”
Manning also said Jackson‘s family flew into Las Vegas to offer moral support after the allegations emerged. “They really are behind him 100 percent.” He described Jackson‘s mood as upbeat. “He was joking around, talking to his brothers, his parents and his sisters and looking forward to getting these charges behind him,” Manning said.
Meanwhile, CBS may have yanked its Jackson music special, which was to air next week, but many news networks and cable channels are focusing their full attention on the Jackson story, despite other newsworthy stories such as President Bush’s visit to Buckingham Palace and the ongoing crisis in Iraq. ABC News decided to devote Wednesday’s edition of Nightline to Jackson. NBC News’ Dateline will do the same on Friday, and ABC’s 20/20 will likely follow suit, Variety reports.
According to the trade paper, VHI is set to air a Jackson special Sunday called VH1 News: Michael Jackson Sex Scandal, followed by the two-hour Granada TV-produced documentary Living With Michael Jackson, British journalist Martin Bashir’s controversial interview with Jackson that aired earlier this year.