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KING OF POP STILL STRUGGLING AFTER A YEAR

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A year after his glittering world crumbled around him with accusations of child abuse, pop star Michael Jackson is struggling to put his life, and his career, back together.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced on August 23, 1993, that Jackson was the subject of a criminal investigation over accusations he had sexually molested a 13-year-old boy over a four-month-period.That bombshell was greeted with shock around the world - Michael Jackson, the icon of pop - the man pre-teen girls worshipped at concerts, accused of having sex with a young boy. It wasn't possible, fans asked themselves - was it?

The question is still being asked, making Jackson's task an uphill struggle, particularly in a world where his every move comes under intense media scrutiny.

Even his marriage in May to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley, was largely greeted with skepticism.

Some said it was a publicity stunt intended to shake off the stigma of being an accused child molester.

Others said it was a business arrangement, merging two of the nation's largest music business concerns. Presley was the sole inheritor of her father's vast wealth and earns millions of dollars a year in royalties, license fees and record sales.

She is said to be worth around $100 million while Jackson's wealth, through his various music enterprises, has been estimated to be at least $150 million.

Others doubted the wedding ceremony, in the Dominican Republic, had taken place at all or said that if the marriage had been performed by a magistrate in the Caribbean nation, it was probably illegal.

Earlier this month, Jackson and Mrs. Presley-Jackson, as Lisa Marie now calls herself, made their first public appearance since their marriage, in Budapest, Hungary, where Jackson filmed a video for his upcoming album, "History."

But the press was more interested in what they were doing in private than in public.

Staff at the luxury hotel where they stayed reported the couple had slept in separate beds. A maid said during the 30 minutes it took her to clean their suite, the newlyweds never uttered a word to each other.

Jackson has continued to vehemently deny the boy's accusations, although he did settle the boy's civil lawsuit out of court in January for a sum reported to be between $5 million and $20 million, which only fueled the skepticism surrounding the case.

In addition to the police probe, the accusations were investigated by two grand juries, in Los Angeles County and Santa Barbara County 120 miles to the north, where the singer has homes.

The grand juries are no longer sitting and presumably reached no decisions in the case, although district attorneys in both counties have yet to announce the case is closed.

In November last year, Jackson announced in Mexico City he was addicted to painkillers and abruptly canceled his world tour scheduled to promote his album, "Dangerous."

In a videotaped message, he said he had begun taking painkillers several months earlier following reconstructive surgery to remove scars on his head that were the result of his hair having caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in 1984.

Jackson said the boy's accusations, which had "humiliated, embarrassed, and hurt" him, were partly to blame for his addiction.

The accusations also hurt Jackson financially. Pepsi dropped his contract, reported to be worth about $2.5 million and withdrew its support for his "Dangerous" tour even before Jackson cancelled it.