Jermaine Jackson says the child molestation charges his brother Michael faces are part of a racially motivated vendetta and an "extortion" plot, and pledged the entire Jackson family would rally around the beleaguered King of Pop.
"If you handcuff my brother you handcuff the whole family," Jermaine told ABCNEWS' Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview airing tonight on 20/20.
Michael Jackson, 45, surrendered Thursday to authorities in Santa Barbara County, Calif., where he was booked on allegations he molested a 12-year-old boy. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 9.
The arrest warrant against the singer alleges multiple violations of a law prohibiting lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. Such a crime is punishable by three to eight years in prison.
"It's a big fat lie," his brother Jermaine, 48, told Walters.
Speaking to Walters from Las Vegas, Jermaine condemned the Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office, saying the case is nothing more than "a personal vendetta" against Michael.
He accused prosecutors of making light of the case. "They made a joke of it in their press conference. … It's very disturbing," he said, adding, "I'm requesting an investigation of the investigators."
Jermaine also said he feels the pursuit of his brother is racially motivated. "They're a bunch of racist rednecks out there who don't care about people," he told Walters.
"He's not a criminal. They didn't have to send 70 people into his home," Jermaine said. About 70 police officers searched Michael's Neverland Ranch for several hours on Tuesday.
Jermaine said he is confident investigators found nothing incriminating in their search of his brother's sprawling ranch. "I'm not afraid of what they took out," he said, "I'm afraid of what they put in."
‘This Is Extortion’
Michael Jackson faced similar allegations made in 1993, when a 13-year-old boy alleged he had been molested by the pop superstar. The entertainer was never charged. He settled a civil suit filed by the boy's family for a reported $15 million.
Jermaine Jackson said his brother was innocent of those accusations as well, but simply chose not to fight because of business and family obligations.
Jermaine said both the current and 1993 allegations were unfounded and were motivated by money. "This is extortion — the second time around," he told Walters.
This time around, Jermaine said, the family will do everything necessary to fight the charges and clear Michael's name.
"We're ready for war," he said. "We're going to get together with our generals, our troops, and our people and we're going to mobilize and fight."