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Video: Molestation claims ‘biggest lie,’ Jackson mom says

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    >> with our interview with katherine jackson . we spoke to her tuesday and began with conrad murray , the doctor charged with michael 's death. i asked why she felt it was important to be in court every day during his preliminary hearing.

    >> i just felt i had to be there. i was with him every day when his last trial was. i just wouldn't feel right if i wasn't there.

    >> was it difficult for you to be in the courtroom with someone who's accused of in some ways being responsible for your son's death?

    >> yes, it is very difficult. very difficult to listen to him lying and tiff cult looking at him knowing he was there to see after my son and he died under his care. i thought he was very negligent. that makes me feel bad. i can't stand to look at him.

    >> you have done your homework and you know the evidence that will be presented against dr. murray in court. do you feel the prosecution has a strong case?

    >> i do.

    >> the punishment, if dr. murray is convicted, this is involuntary manslaughter, after all. i believe the maximum sentence is four years in prison. how does that sit with you?

    >> not good at all. i think if someone's under a doctor's care, especially a doctor and they die with him seeing over him, i think that four years is not enough for anyone losing their life under someone else . i think they should pay just like they have taken the life away from my son. i think he should pay for it.

    >> in the last several years you have become the principal guardian of prince, paris and blanket. are they curious in following the trial or are they off doing things children their ages would typically do?

    >> they are off doing the things children should do. i don't talk about it with them. i don't want them -- they're young. i want them to be happy. that would make them sad.

    >> can you give me an update? there is so much curiosity and interest in prince, paris and blanket. prince is 14, paris is 12 and blanket is 9. how are they doing?

    >> they're doing fine. blanket is waiting for his teacher right now. he's home-schooled. and the other two have gone to school. they go to private school .

    >> what is prince like? i mean, at 14 years old, that's sometimes a turbulent age.

    >> it really is. it's the age they start -- i hate to say, but it's the age they start watching little girls, got girlfriends or something like that. but it's just puppy love . then paris is fine and the baby is still playing. he's doing just fine. all of them are.

    >> you said in an interview not long ago with the associated press that there are a lot of lies about your son out there and misconceptions. if you could set some of them straight now what would you like to tell people?

    >> well, the first thing i would like to tell them is as far as michael being a child molester , that's the biggest lie that was ever told. i guess nobody seemed to know that his first accuser, after michael died there was an article that he came and confessed that michael never touched him. it was a big lie and his father just wanted to be rich. he said, i'm sorry i didn't get to tell him before he died.

    >> yet, mrs. jackson , there was a settlement made, a payment made by your son to the accuser. if there was no guilt why was the payment made?

    >> well, his lawyers told him that he should just pay the money because michael was out on tour at that time. they thought that just paying the money and shut the people up would be the right thing to do. but michael was upset and i was, too. as soon as i heard it i called him and said, why did you do that? it makes you look guilty. he said, the lawyers told me to do it. i didn't want to do it either, mother. i wanted to fight it because it wasn't the truth.

    >> what do you miss most about michael , mrs. jackson ?

    >> you know, i can't say what i miss most. i just miss him, period. i just miss him for not being here. i miss his voice. i miss his singing. sometimes when we were around he'd start to sing and i wanted to ask him sometimes to sing a song again because i just loved his voice.

    >> you know, no parent is supposed to lose a child. that's not the way it's supposed to go. yet it seems to me, mrs. jackson , that you have found some strength and solace in taking care of his children. would that be a fair statement?

    >> yes, it would. and having the children around helps me a lot. and a lot of times they always say, well, daddy used to do it like this, daddy this, daddy that. it brings a smile to my face because i know they are not forgetting him.

    >> you have taken on another challenge, mrs. jackson . that's more of a new business venture that you're involved in. can you share it with me a little bit?

    >> yes. i have a flower collection. i met the person that's doing it with me through a friend. i love flowers and he told me that his family has been in the flower business for many years and i thought that was a very good idea and a very good thing for us to do together. and here i am with the flower collection. i love flowers anyway. i have them all around my yard, my house, everywhere.

    >> so many people this week are going to be thinking about mother's day, a time where we have a chance to honor the roles that our mothers have played in our lives. when you think of your role as a mother and the nine children, what are you most proud of?

    >> well, what gives me the most pride is i have never had -- i raised my children up to be good, law-abiding citizens. i have never had problems with them. they are raising their children the same way. i have a very large family now. i'm just proud that they are all not giving me any problems and they are law-abiding citizens. that brings joy to my life. i don't have any worries about that.

    >> we're proud of the fact that you have spent time with us and we wish you the best. katherine jackson , thank you very much.

    >> thank you.

    >> a lot of strength. but there is a lot of pain that's in her heart over the loss of her son. i think anger about what is, in her opinion, some of the stories that have been told that are not correct.

    >> absolutely. she wants to speak out which i found very interesting, too.

    >> by the way, we should wish her a happy birthday today.

    >> happy birthday .

    >> she turns 81. happy birthday , mrs. jackson . for more of the interview head to today.com. to learn more about mrs. jackson 's new business venture you can do it at sendherflowers.com.

    >> i think those were her flowers behind her. quite beautiful.

TODAY contributor
updated 5/4/2011 9:20:19 AM ET 2011-05-04T13:20:19

Nearly two years after the sudden death of Michael Jackson, his mother told TODAY she’s still stung by the public perception of her son as a child molester, which gained steam through a 1993 accusation and a sensational 2005 criminal trial.

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“As far as Michael being a child molester, that’s the biggest lie that’s ever been told,” Jackson told Matt Lauer in an exclusive prerecorded interview that aired on TODAY Wednesday.

Mrs. Jackson, who turned 81 Wednesday, made her feelings about the allegations clear to Lauer in a rare one-on-one talk. She also addressed the current involuntary manslaughter case against Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.

‘Why did you do that?’
The pop superstar, who died June 25, 2009, at age 50, was acquitted in 2005 of 10 charges centering on child molestation after a very public 14-week trial. But his mother told Lauer her son’s problems began with the 1993 case, when a 12-year-boy alleged Jackson had molested him. Criminal prosecution was stymied after the boy and his family refused to testify against Jackson, and Jackson made a payment believed to be $15 million to the family.

Katherine Jackson said she still rues the day her son settled with the family.

“His lawyers told him that he should just pay the money, because Michael was out on tour at that time, and they thought that just paying the money and (shutting) the people up would be the right thing to do,” she said.

“As soon as I heard it, I called him and I said, ‘Why did you do that? It makes you look guilty.’ And he said, ‘Well, the lawyers told me to do it.’ He said, ‘I didn’t want to do it either, Mother; I wanted to fight it, because I know it wasn’t the truth. But they wanted me to do that.’ ”

Video: Molestation claims ‘biggest lie,’ Jackson mom says (on this page)

Mrs. Jackson said the boy at the center of the 1993 case recanted after Michael’s death. “He confessed that Michael never touched him, and it was a big lie, and his father just wanted to be rich. And he said, ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t get to tell [Michael] this before he died.’ ”

Today Mrs. Jackson is busy in her role as legal guardian of her son’s children, Prince, Paris and Blanket. But she’s also kept a watchful eye on the court case against Dr. Murray, attending the preliminary hearings in the manslaughter case. Murray is charged with administering the surgical anesthetics propofol and lorazepam believed to have caused Jackson’s death.

Slideshow: Michael Jackson’s life and career (on this page)

Mrs. Jackson told Lauer that although sitting in court was painful, “I just felt that I had to be there. I was there every day when his last [2005] trial was, and I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t there.” She said she found it “very difficult listening to [Murray] lying, and very difficult just looking at him, knowing that he was there to see after my son, and he died under his care. I thought he was very negligent, and that makes me feel really bad. I can’t stand to look at him.”

Four years ‘not enough’
Murray’s trial, originally set to begin next week, has been delayed until September. If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail. But Jackson told Lauer she doesn’t believe that punishment would fit the alleged crime.

Video: Jackson doctor jury selection underway (on this page)

“I think if someone is under a doctor’s care, and they die with him seeing over him, I think that four years is not enough,” she said. “It’s not enough for anyone. I think they should pay just like they’ve taken the life from my son. I think he should pay for it.”

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Mrs. Jackson told Lauer that Michael’s three children are “doing fine,” and that they aren’t kept up to date on the Murray case. “They’re off doing the things that children should do,” she said. “I don’t talk about [that] with them. They’re young and I want them to be happy, and that would make them very sad.”

Mrs. Jackson described Michael’s oldest child, 14-year-old son Prince, as a typical American teenager. “It’s the age they start — I hate to say — but it’s the age they start watching little girls,” she said. “It’s just puppy love.”

Video: Watch full interview with Katherine Jackson (on this page)

And along with helping raise Prince and his two siblings, the 81-year-old is also embarking on a new business venture: She’s teamed with SendHerFlowers.com to launch the Katherine Jackson Flower Collection, a set of six floral arrangements she designed for the company.

“I met the person that’s doing it through a friend, and I love flowers, so I thought [it] was a very good idea,” she told Lauer. “Here I am with a flower collection. I love flowers anyway. I have them all around my yard, my house, everywhere.”

But as busy as she stays, she still misses her son, particularly the voice that enthralled millions of fans. “I just miss him for not being here,” she said. “I miss his voice. I miss his singing. Sometimes when we were around, he’d start to sing, and he’d end a song, and I’d want to ask him sometimes to sing it again. I just loved his voice.”

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Photos: Michael Jackson’s life and career

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  1. Little boy Michael

    Jackson was just 12 when this picture was taken in May 1971, but his career was already stratospheric. Berry Gordy had signed the Jackson 5 to Motown Records in 1968, and Michael and his brothers had already topped the charts with "ABC" and "I'll Be There." It was a bright start for the boy from Gary, Ind. (Henry Diltz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Signs of success

    Michael Jackson, far left, and the rest of the Jackson Five; the five brothers from Indiana were signed to Berry Gordy's Motown record label pose in 1972. (Frank Barratt / Getty Images file) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. All in the family

    The Jackson 5 performs in Los Angeles on a 1970s Bob Hope TV special. Michael continued to front the band, but his solo career was already on the rise, starting with 1971's "Got to Be There." (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A wonderful Wiz

    Michael Jackson at the opening of "The Wiz." The 1978 movie musical was the first time Michael worked with legendary producer Quincy Jones, who would soon produce Jackson's breakout solo album, "Off the Wall," and eventually the "Thriller" album as well. Jackson's "Wiz" co-star was friend and mentor Diana Ross, who had introduced the world to the Jackson 5 back in 1969. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Wanna be startin' somethin'?

    Michael Jackson performs in concert during a 1981 tour with his brothers. During the tour Michael began writing down ideas for a solo project that blossomed into the highest-selling album of all time. (Susan Phillips / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Michael Jackson and Diana Ross hold their American Music Awards in L.A. Jackson won for favorite soul album and Ross won for favorite female soul vocalist. (Juynh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Fright night

    Michael Jackson stands with a group of dancers dressed as zombies while filming his 1983 video "Thriller." "Thriller" was revolutionary in the music industry. The zombie-themed minimovie put MTV on the map and essentially confirmed music videos as an art form of their own. The album sold 25 million copies in the United States alone. (Corbis / Sygma) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Moment of stardom

    Michael Jackson performs the moonwalk for the first time on television's "Motown 25," a tribute to Berry Gordy. The dance move that would become Michael's trademark stunned viewers and the crowd, and marked his imminent crowning as the King of Pop. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Handfuls of glory

    With Quincy Jones at his side, Michael Jackson holds six of the eight awards he won for "Thriller" at the 1984 Grammy Awards. His outfit, complete with epaulettes, sequined glove and dark shades, became a quintessential Michael look. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Role model

    During a May 1984 ceremony at the White House, Michael Jackson accepts a Presidential Award from President Reagan as First Lady Nancy Reagan looks on. Jackson was honored as a model for American youth, and for lending his hit song "Beat It" to a new campaign against drunk driving. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A scary day

    Michael Jackson, background, is seen with his hair on fire during a taping of a Pepsi TV commercial in Los Angeles on February 1984 as brother Jermaine Jackson, foreground, continues to perform, apparently unaware of the situation. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. LONDON-1985: Michael Jackson is lead through a crowd by policeman on a promotionial tour of Great Britain in London.(Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)UK NEWSPAPERS OUT WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT FROM DAVE HOGAN. PLEASE CONTACT SALES TEAM WITH ENQUIRIES (Dave Hogan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. They were the world

    In January 1985, a who's-who of the music and movie worlds came together to sing "We Are The World," written to benefit famine victims in Ethiopia. Michael Jackson can be seen front and center, along with Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, and dozens of other stars. Michael's sister Janet can be seen bottom right. (Bettmann / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Victory lap

    Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, left, makes a July 1984 guest appearance during Michael Jackson's Victory Tour concert in Irving, Texas. Van Halen had recorded the now immortal guitar riff on "Beat It," to the displeasure of bandmate David Lee Roth, but to the delight of nearly everyone else. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Who's bad?

    Michael Jackson and his dancers in concert during a 1987 Tokyo concert on Jackson's "Bad" tour. The previous year, he had starred in the 3-D film "Captain EO," one of the most expensive short films ever. But Jackson had begun to draw more criticism as his albums and videos grew costlier and more infrequent. His next album, "Dangerous," wouldn't arrive until 1991. (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A difficult year

    A cameraman photographs Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey in January 1993. This was the year Jackson was first accused of child molestation, and he took an opportunity on a 90-minute Oprah TV special to address the charges. The criminal allegations eventually were dropped, but Jackson reportedly paid as much as $25 million to settle the claims. (Neal Preston / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Black and white at the Super Bowl

    Michael Jackson gives a performance with 30,000 children during the Super Bowl XXVIII halftime show, on January 31, 1993, in Pasadena, Calif. Despite allegations against him, Jackson's career had regained momentum with hits like "Black or White" and "Remember the Time," and the "Dangerous" album was a multi-platinum seller. (Ralf-Finn Hestoft / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Michael Jackson and French mime Marcel Marceau clowning for the cameras at the Beacon Theatre in New York on Dec. 4, 1995. (Bob Strong / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Power marriage

    Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley are seen at Neverland Ranch in preparation of the Children's World Summit in April 1995. Presley would file for divorce less than a year later, prompting speculation about just what had inspired the relationship. (Steve Starr / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Golden man

    Michael Jackson performs on stage during is "HIStory" world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium in November 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Marriage 2.0

    Just months after his divorce from Lisa Marie, Michael Jackson walked back up the aisle with Debbie Rowe. This wedding photo was released by Jackson's publicist minutes after the Nov. 13, 1996, ceremony in Sydney, Australia. But the pairing was less about romance and more about bearing Jackson a child, and the two would divorce three years later, with Rowe eventually ceding parental rights to Jackson. (Reuters / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Best of friends

    Michael Jackson and actress Elizabeth Taylor arrive at a Sept. 7, 2001, concert celebrating the 30 years of Jackson's career. The two stars had been longtime friends, and Taylor is godmother to two of Michael's children. (Jeff Christensen / Reuters / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. (FILES) Photo dated November 13, 2002 shows US entertainer Michael Jackson testifying in Santa Maria, Calif. Superior Court in a trial in which he is accused of cancelling concert appearances, costing the promoter several million dollars. (- / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Not so invincible

    Michael Jackson poses for photographers during a Nov. 2001 appearance in New York's Times Square. Jackson made his first ever in-store appearance to promote his new album, "Invincible," which was released Oct. 30. "Invincible," at the time the most expensive album ever produced, fared better with critics and fans than 1995's "HIStory," but questions began to surface about the future of Jackson's career. (Brad Rickerby / Reuters/Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. One big mistake

    Michael Jackson holds a towel-covered Prince Michael II over the balcony of a Berlin hotel on Nov. 19 2002. Jackson later called the incident a "terrible mistake," but the image of him dangling his baby son out a window shocked even many die-hard fans. And his reputation was to receive far worse damage just a few months later. (Tobias Schwarz / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Arresting development

    Michael Jackson is pictured in this Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department mug shot from Nov. 20, 2003. In a February 2003 documentary, Jackson acknowledged letting boys sleep in his bed. Soon after, Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon launched a probe into allegations that Jackson had molested a teen boy who appeared in the program. Authorities raided Neverland Ranch in November, and Jackson surrended for arrest days later. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's D / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Family support

    Michael, center, and sisters LaToya, left and Janet Jackson walk over to greets fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria, Calif. in this Aug. 16, 2004 file photo. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. MJ's PJs

    Michael Jackson wears pajama pants and is aided by bodyguards after arriving more than an hour late to court on Mar. 10, 2005, during his trial on the 2003 molestation charges. Jackson appeared after Judge Rodney Melville threatened to revoke his bail. (Kimberly White / pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Singin' with the kids

    Michael Jackson sings with some of his young fans at the World Music Awards at Earls Court in London on Nov. 16, 2006. (Graham Jepson / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Fans in uniform

    Michael Jackson receives a letter of appreciation from Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, the garrison commander of Camp Zama, on March 10, 2007 in Zama, Japan. Michael greeted thousands of U.S. troops and their family members at the U.S. Army base. (U.S. Army via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Father figure

    Michael Jackson walks with kids Prince and Paris through a studio parking lot in Los Angeles in March 2009. The singer had been spotted with his entourage going to a studio on a cold rainy day in the city. The pop star stayed at the studio for more than two hours, and there were many production people working around him, suggesting that the star was filming. (Splash News / Splash News) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Concert tour planned

    Fans take pictures of an electronic screen projecting a press conference by Michael Jackson at the O2 arena in London on March 5, 2009. The pop megastar announced he would play a series of comeback concerts in London in July, his first major shows in more than a decade. (Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Reaching for redemption

    Jackson, center, is shown in Los Angeles on May 6 during rehearsals for his planned concert tour in London. "He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit," said Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde. "People might have started to think of him again in a different light."

    Discuss the life and impact of Michael Jackson in PhotoBlog. (Courtesy of Michael Jackson via) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Michael Jackson in a Butterfly Collar Shirt
    Henry Diltz / Corbis
    Above: Slideshow (33) Michael Jackson’s life and career
    Slideshow (16) The face of change


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