Troubled pop star Michael Jackson prepared for his high-profile court appearance today (16AUG04) by attending Los Angeles' pre-eminent black church in an impromptu visit.

The THRILLER singer - who's facing a series of child molestation charges after allegedly assaulting a teenager at his Neverland Ranch in California - donned a blue velvet jacket with a gold armband for his religious appointment at the First AME Church yesterday (15AUG04).

Jackson was joined by his attorney TOM MESEREAU JR, brother RANDY and comedian Steve Harvey.

During a meeting with around 35 Sunday school students, Jackson was asked by one girl if the children could visit his Neverland Ranch, to which the pop star replied, "You're welcome to come anytime."

At today's hearing in Santa Maria, District Attorney Tom Sneddon is expected to testify against the superstar.

Meanwhile, the singer's defence is seeking to show that Sneddon invaded the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege between Jackson and his former attorney to gain information on the case.

Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million (GBP1.6 million) bail.

16/08/2004 13:46