Wednesday, February 16, 2005


By Stockton

Michael Jackson's Sudden Illness Halts Trial

By Dan Whitcomb

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson was taken to a hospital emergency room suffering from the flu on Tuesday, bringing an abrupt halt to jury selection in his child molestation trial.

Jackson became so sick while en route to court in Santa Maria, about 30 minutes from his Neverland Valley Ranch, that he was driven instead to a local hospital. The sudden illness caught Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville and even Jackson's own lawyers by surprise.

"We all knew something was wrong," said Jackson friend, Jim Stevens. "He looked so pale. He looked all washed-out."

The first sign of trouble came late last night when supporters had gathered to show support for Michael. "We were all just hanging out, playing Candyland," said Melvin Hardwick, a long-time Jackson associate. "Then suddenly, Michael's nose just falls off. Just falls right off his face. It bounced a few times and then rolled under the couch."

Jackson was rushed by ambulance to Saint Jude's Children's Hospital.

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