Michael Jackson's actor friend Mark Lester intends to give evidence in defence of the singer at the THRILLER star's forthcoming child trial molestation trial.

Lester - famed for his role as Oliver Twist in the hit 1960's movie musical OLIVER! - befriended Jackson 25 years ago and is godfather to two of Jackson's children.

And he was at the superstar's Neverland Ranch home in Santa Barbara, California at the time the prosecution claims Jackson assaulted minors, so believes he can prove Jackson's innocence.

He says, "Michael is innocent. I could be called as a witness because of what I know. I saw things that could be helpful to his case. The allegations against him are complete and utter nonsense.

"I would totally trust my children with him. He is their godfather, why shouldn't I."

Jackson's trial starts on 31 January (05), he has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent to his alleged victim.

25/01/2005 02:46