Michael Jackson's former lawyer MARK GERAGOS has told the singer's child molestation trial he warned Jackson his teen accuser GAVIN ARVIZO would fabricate abuse claims for financial gain.

Geragos, who was fired by the pop superstar last year (04), was ordered to testify in his ex-client's ongoing child molestation case or risk arrest.

And on Thursday (12MAY05) he testified that he hired a private detective to follow Arvizo and his family, because he suspected they would use the THRILLER star's "unconditional love" for children against him.

After secretly investigating the Arvizo family for six weeks, Geragos came to the conclusion Jackson must end his friendship with Gavin or risk being the subject of a false molestation lawsuit.

He told the court in Santa Maria, California, "I was trying to prevent a crime against my client. I thought they were going to try to shake him down."

"I didn't see anyone doing anything nefarious or criminal. I saw someone who was ripe as a target."

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to 10 felony charges of child molestation, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiracy involving allegations of child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

The trial continues.

15/05/2005 13:57