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Rev. Al Sharpton vows to fight for Michael Jackson and his family

Jul 23, 2009

Rev. Al Sharpton vows to fight for Michael Jackson and his family

BY Tanyanika Samuels
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, June 28th 2009, 4:00 AM
Rev Al Sharpton speaks about his good friend, Michael Jackson outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Rothenberg for News

Rev Al Sharpton speaks about his good friend, Michael Jackson outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

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Still reeling from news of Michael Jackson’s death, the Rev. Al Sharpton is headed to Los Angeles today to help the Jackson family plan funeral arrangements.

Sharpton spoke with family members Friday.

“Mr. Jackson seemed very sad. He did not seem like himself,” he said of the pop legend’s father. “Mrs. Jackson couldn’t even come to the phone, she was devastated. Jermaine and Jackie are devastated too, yet they are determined. They want to see their brother treated right. They told me ‘You’ve gotta keep out there and defend Michael.'”

Sharpton also plans to eulogize his friend of 35 years during a memorial service Tuesday at the Apollo Theater.

During his weekly rally at the National Action Network yesterday, Sharpton railed against reports focusing on allegations that Jackson molested children and abused prescription drugs.

“If we can look past the shortcomings of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, then we can put into proper perspective any shortcomings Michael may have had,” he said.

Sharpton said he knew Jackson was at peace. “When you get to heaven,” he said, looking skyward, “turn around and moonwalk through the gates.”

That drew cheers from many in the audience, like lifelong Jackson fan, Shenay King, 22. “We’ve lost a legend,” King said. “There will never be another Michael Jackson.”

tsamuels@nydailynews.com

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