By Stephen M. Silverman
December 04, 2002 01:00 PM

A shoeless Michael Jackson hobbled into a California courtroom on crutches Tuesday and blamed a spider for his condition, according to published reports.

The singer, 44, was there to resume testimony in a $21 million lawsuit brought by concert promoter Marcel Avram, who accuses Jackson of pulling out of two millennium concerts. Jackson denies reneging on the deal.

But he does know how to make an entrance. The star turned up at the courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., sporting a white athletic sock instead of a shoe because, he said, his swollen foot would not fit inside it.

Speaking to reporters, he claimed the bite did not come from one of his pet tarantulas but from a smaller creature in the wilds of his Neverland ranch. He said the spider attacked him while his house was being fumigated.

“I love tarantulas, but not the little kind,” explained Jackson.

Of his foot, he said, “It’s a spider bite. It’s really bad. If I showed it to you, you’d be shocked.”

On the witness stand, Jackson was asked about the details of how the concerts were organized, the Associated Press reports.

“That’s administrative work. That’s not what I do. I’m the entertainer,” he told the courtroom.

When Avram’s lawyer asked Jackson if he suffered from memory problems, the singer replied: “Not that I can recall.”

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