Jackson Handlers Say He's 'Just Fine'
01/13/2004 AT 01:55 PM EST
Jackson, 45, who is battling multiple child molestation charges, was not at the meeting, though the Associated Press reports that he was connected via a conference call. Also present, in person: members of the controversial Nation of Islam, who recently have been linked to Jackson.
Earlier on Monday, attorney Johnnie Cochran, a friend of Jackson's, told the "Today" show that while the singer has several assets he could mine or sell, including ownership of the Beatles songbook, it would likely take some serious work for Jackson to turn his life around. Cochran was not present at the Beverly Hills Hotel meeting.
Also at Monday's gathering: Jackson's accountant, Allan Whitman; his civil lawyer, Zia Modabber; criminal lawyer Mark Geragos; and music manager Charles Koppelman, who said reports of Jackson having difficulty meeting a payment to a bank for his purchase of the Beatles song catalog is erroneous. He also said, however, that "we discussed his assets" at the meeting.
Koppelman added that Jackson was not going to rent out his Neverland Ranch.
Nation of Islam member Tony Muhammad, who attended the meeting, was asked by reporters to explain his group's role. He replied, according to Reuters: "Most of the people in the room were Jewish. This is not about any one religion."
Asked who was in charge of the gathering, Geragos said, as quoted by AP: "This is a very egalitarian group."
Also on Monday, Jackson's older brother Jermaine and a handful of fans held a news conference to describe plans to stage a courthouse rally in support of Jackson during his Friday arraignment in Santa Maria, Calif.
"My brother is innocent, he is 1,000 percent innocent," said Jermaine Jackson, 49. "My mother, father, sisters and brothers are overwhelmed at the outpouring of the fans in the U.S.A. and all around the world."
Michael Jackson is charged with seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine. He remains free on $3 million bail pending his arraignment. Jackson has maintained his innocence.