Michael Jackson has taken time out of his child molestation trial to pay tribute to late pal Johnnie Cochran, who died on Tuesday (29MAR05).

Cochran was the pop superstar's attorney when Jackson fought his first child molestation case in 1993 and was among the secret consultants who prepared him for his current trial.

In a statement released yesterday (30MAR05), Jackson said, "I am saddened to hear of the death of my friend Johnnie Cochran. I would like to send my condolences to his family.

"Johnnie Cochran was a true gentleman who embodied class, brilliance, honesty and integrity... I loved him and I will miss him."

In one of his last TV interviews on US news show ACCESS HOLLYWOOD last year (JAN04), Cochran insisted his former client was innocent.

He said, "I know Michael and I found him to be very credible in this area. If you go to Neverland and you see what he's done there for children, sick children... I believe him."

Jackson wasn't the only former celebrity client to pay tribute to Cochran - rapper SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS also weighed in with his thoughts.

Diddy, who won a not guilty verdict with Cochran at his side in his nightclub shooting trial in 2001, says, "When he believed in you he would go all the way for you."

31/03/2005 02:28