Jackson flees United States for new life in Arab state

DETHRONED King of Pop Michael Jackson has quit the United States permanently for a new home in the Arab state of Bahrain, it was revealed yesterday.

The news was revealed after Jackson - acquitted on child sex abuse charges in June - was called for jury service in Santa Barbara, California.

The jury service papers were delivered to his luxurious mansion, Neverland - but there was no-one home.

Jackson's lawyers have now filed paperwork for a deferment of jury duty based on the fact that the singer now lives abroad.

His lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, who defended Jackson on the sex abuse charges, confirmed: "He is permanently living outside of the United States."

Santa Barbara's jury commissioner, Gary Blair, said that it was likely that Jackson would now be excused from jury service.

"All he has to do is show that he has legal residence elsewhere and he'll be exempted," he said.

Jackson and his three children, Prince Michael, Paris and Prince Michael II, fled to the oil-rich state by private jet at the end of June.

He has been living in a palace owned by Prince Abdulla bin Hamen Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain's King Hamad and a long-time friend of Jackson's brother Jermaine.

Jackson has taken to wearing traditional Arab robes and headgear to avoid attracting attention to himself and to fit in with local culture.

It was widely reported that Jackson had bought a lavish property and 14 acres of land next door to Prince Abdulla's palace, but that was later denied by a spokeswoman for the singer.

In August, Jackson was seen in Dubai, where he was shown around the United Arab Emirates city by King Hamad's son, Mohammed bin Sulayem.

Jackson has been lying low since he walked free from a Californian court in June after being cleared of ten charges which included allegations that he sexually molested cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo, then aged 13, in 2003.

Jackson was also cleared on charges of giving the boy alcohol, conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

Jackson's financial advisers are waiting for approval to put the 3,000-acre Neverland estate on the market for an asking price of up to 40 million.

Staff have already moved the animals out of Jackson's private zoo and have mothballed the full-size fairground.

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