Only a dozen people turned out in New York on Saturday for a candlelight vigil rally in Times Square.

Clad in Jackson T-shirts and carrying placards with the slogans “Michael is innocent” and “It's the press who are scum” the 12 lonely fans gathered outside the Virgin Megastore in the heart of New York's theatre land.

“We just wanted to show that there are people who still believe in Michael,” said Stacy Veitmeier, 19.

“We know he could never have done the things they are saying,” she added.
 
The 45-year-old pop star was handcuffed and booked Thursday, charged with multiple counts of “lewd and lascivious behaviour” with a child, each of which carries a jail sentence of up to eight years.

Miserly turnout

Outside a separate Virgin outlet in downtown Manhattan, a further 15 fans, led by a female Michael Jackson impersonator, danced and sang messages of support for their embattled hero.

Still, the turnout was miserly given the publicity surrounding the Internet-based appeal for vigils in countries across the world.

“If that's the best they could manage, I guess it kind of sums up how many people really think Jackson's innocent,” said Jeanine Baylis as she left the Times Square megastore.