SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) – Michael Jackson said in a television interview scheduled to air Saturday that many of the news reports about him are “fiction” and that his celebrity makes him a target.

Jackson was barred by a gag order from talking about the molestation charges he faces. But he said in a wide-ranging interview with the Fox News Channel’s “At Large w/ Geraldo Rivera” program that he believes the truth about him will ultimately come out.

“The bigger the star, the bigger the target. I’m not trying to say I’m the super-duper star, I’m not saying that,” Jackson said in the interview, which was taped two weeks ago. “I’m saying the fact that people come at celebrities, we’re targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that.”

Excerpts of the interview was released Thursday by Fox.

The interview was Jackson’s first since he was indicted by a grand jury in April on charges of molesting a boy and plying him with alcohol. Jackson’s lawyers and prosecutors are scheduled to begin questioning potential jurors in the trial Monday.

Jackson also said in the interview that he designed his Neverland estate, where prosecutors say the molestation occurred, as a place where he could enjoy the childhood activities he missed while he was a child star.

“I created Neverland as a home for myself and my children … it gave me a chance to do what I couldn’t do when I was little,” Jackson said. “We couldn’t go to movie theaters. We couldn’t go to Disneyland. We couldn’t do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard.

“And we did enjoy it,” Jackson said. “But this allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world I love is there … other men have their Ferraris and their airplanes or helicopter or wherever they find their bliss. My bliss is in giving and sharing and having simple innocent fun.”

Jackson said Neverland also provides a happy place for inner-city children “who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama.”

“So if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say thank you God,” Jackson said. “I feel I won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.”

Jackson also talked about the rapper Eminem, who mocked him in his video for “Just Lose It.” In the video, Eminem impersonates Jackson, appearing with a group of boys in the background. “Come here, little kiddie, on my lap. Guess who’s back with a brand new rap,” he rhymes.

Jackson said he had always admired “Mr. Eminem,” but thought the rapper should be ashamed.

“I’ve been an artist most of my life and I’ve never attacked a fellow artist,” Jackson said. “Great artists don’t do that. You don’t have to do that.”

He also defended his sister Janet’s “wardrobe malfunction” at last year’s Super Bowl.

“Actually, I was looking right at it and I didn’t see it … (I told her to) be strong. This too shall pass. Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen worse things.”

AP-ES-02-03-05 1901EST

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