Troubled Michael Jackson can breathe a sigh of relief - his court appearance on charges of child abuse this Friday (16JAN04) will not be broadcast on TV.

In a major blow to television networks, a judge has banned crews from the Santa Barbara, California, courtroom where the THRILLER star will be arraigned on seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an 'intoxicating agent' to a child.

Santa Barbara superior court judge RODNEY MELVILLE - who made the decision on Monday (12JAN04) - will also decide whether lawyers, witnesses and Jackson advisors attending the hearing should talk with reporters once the judicial process gets under way.

On Friday, 45-year-old Jackson will have to declare whether he is innocent or guilty of the charges filed by Santa Barbara prosecutors against him on 18 December (03).

14/01/2004 13:41