Michael Jackson Aquitted On Molestation Charges
Jurors also acquitted him of conspiring to imprison his accuser and the boy’s family at the storybook estate – a huge legal victory but one that may do little to improve his bizarre image.
A caravan of black SUVs delivered Jackson, wearing a black suit and flanked by family members, to the courthouse. Jackson was greeted by “Michael, innocent” chants as he walked into the courthouse.
The jury, which listened to 14 weeks of testimony and arguments, deliberated over seven days before sending word of a verdict at about 12:30 p.m.
The announcement came shortly after Judge Rodney S. Melville issued a statement saying that the jury asked and withdrew a question Monday morning. He also confirmed that on Friday the jury had a read-back of testimony and there were four meetings in chambers with attorneys. News organizations had filed motions seeking information on such developments.
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive to get them to rebut a damaging television documentary.
In the documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson,” Jackson held hands with the boy and told interviewer Martin Bashir that he let children into his bed but it was innocent and non-sexual.
Jackson, who climbed to fame with the Jackson 5 and dominated pop music in the 1980s with the powerhouse “Thriller” and other albums, was portrayed at trial as a pedophile who lured boys into his bed at his fairytale Neverland ranch. The defense called the accuser and his family con artists.
Jackson’s career began to lose its luster after 1993 allegations of child molestation that ended with a multimillion-dollar civil settlement paid to a boy, and his lifestyle, two marriages, and drastic changes in appearance became fodder for “Wacko Jacko” tabloid headlines.