JERUSALEM (AP) – Psychic Uri Geller defended his friend Michael Jackson on Sunday, saying the pop singer denied under hypnosis three years ago that he had sexually abused children.

Geller, best known for his claimed telekinetic ability to bend spoons, told Israel’s Army Radio that he hypnotized Jackson when the two were alone in a recording studio at an undisclosed location.

The hypnosis would have taken place before Jackson is alleged to have molested a cancer-stricken boy invited to his Neverland Ranch.

“I told him that that if he would let me, I would hypnotize him,” Geller told the radio. “He said, ‘OK, let’s give it a try.”‘

He said he asked Jackson about persistent rumors that he had abused children.

“He answered me under deep hypnosis that he had never touched a child in a sexual way,” Geller said. “He said – and here I’m using his exact words – ‘My relations with children are very beautiful.”‘

Geller said he was convinced Jackson was telling him the truth.

“I’m a good hypnotist, and I know who is trying to mislead me … ” he said. “I can see straight into the subject’s eyes … (Jackson) didn’t fool me, I’m absolutely sure of it.”

Geller said he did not seek Jackson’s permission to ask about the abuse allegations during the hypnosis, but that he posed the question because he was about to introduce Jackson to his family and wanted to be sure the singer was innocent.

Geller was born and raised in Israel and has lived in Europe since 1972.

Jackson faces seven counts alleging lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He has pleaded innocent.

AP-ES-01-18-04 1413EST

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