|Michael Jackson trial begins|
Dressed in a bright white suit and a jewel-trimmed vest and belt, Michael Jackson on Monday stood in Santa Maria, Calif. before the first group of prospective jurors who could decide his fate on charges he molested a teenage cancer patient and plied the boy with alcohol at his Neverland Ranch.
The pop superstar, accompanied by four defense lawyers, stood and smiled as he faced prospective jurors for the start of jury selection in what could become the most sensational celebrity trial the world has ever seen. He greeted the clerk with a handshake at the courthouse in the small coastal city in central California.
Outside, fans from around the world pressed up against a chain-link fence and shouted words of encouragement, holding up signs that read, "Dear God, Please Give Michael Justice" and "France Supports and Loves MJ."
Fans danced and sang a Jackson song attacking the district attorney and booed a woman who held a sign backing the accuser.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, whom Jackson has derided in a song as a "cold man" with a vendetta, did not come to court. A deputy represented the prosecution.
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a teenage boy -- then 13, now 15 -- and plying him with alcohol.
On Sunday, Jackson issued a court-approved video statement on his Web site, predicting he would be acquitted. His parents also spoke out in his defense Monday, saying the young accuser was after his money.