Michael Jackson Verdict In: Not Guilty

Michael Jackson has been acquitted of all 10 counts relating to his
child molestation trial.

The pop superstar, 46, walked away from the courthouse in Santa
Barbara, California a free man after four months of daily court visits as
he fought charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland Ranch
home and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and

Jackson was arrested on Nov. 20 following a raid on his
Neverland Ranch home and has pleaded innocent throughout the trial.

The King of Pop was given 90 minutes to make his way to the
courthouse from his nearby Neverland Ranch, Santa Barbara home after
it was announced jurors, who have been deliberating since June 3,
had arrived at a verdict. The verdict was delivered via a live audio feed by Santa Barbara County
Court Clerk Lorna Fry just after 2:00 p.m. PST.

Wearing a dark suit, black tie and blue sunglasses, Jackson was joined
by his parents and siblings Jermaine, Janet and LaToya when he
arrived at the courthouse. His entourage were rushed into the court
showing little emotion.

Jackson‘s mother Katharine burst into tears when the first verdict was announced and the Jackson clan held hands and hugged each other. Jackson dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief as the verdict was read
out, with Fry stating “not guilty” to every charge. The pop superstar waved and blew kisses to fans as he left court with his family and entourage.

The trial officially began on Jan. 31 when Jackson faced
prospective jurors in court. Back then, Superior Court judge Rodney Melville informed the
prospective panelists they might have to serve for about six months.

The trial began proper on Feb. 28 following jury selection, after
two delays–Jackson‘s attorney Thomas Mesereau stalled
proceedings in early February to attend his sister’s funeral and Jackson
himself held up the trial in mid-February as he spent four days
recovering from influenza.

Jackson sparked controversy in March when he arrived at
court wearing pajamas after he was threatened with an arrest warrant by
Judge Melville when he failed to turn up to court on time. The pop superstar had made an early morning stop at hospital after suffering back pains.

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Over the course of the trial, jurors listened to testimony from Jackson‘s
accuser, his brother, sister and mother and others who have accused
the singer of child molestation in the past as well as the pop star’s ex-
wife Debbie Rowe and celebrities such as Macaulay Culkin, Jay
Leno and George Lopez as defense and prosecuting attorneys
battled in court. Jackson never took the stand.

The singer made his four month-long court visits a family affair–his parents Joe and Katharine were constantly by his side, while brothers Jermaine, Tito and Randy were regular visitors and sisters LaToya and Janet were occasional companions.

The June 13 verdict came as a surprise to many–jurors had expected to
spend the day re-listening to taped testimony from his teenager accuser
and re-reading his court testimony. More than 2,000 journalists from 32 countries around the world covered
the verdict live from outside the courthouse.

Meanwhile, jubilant Jackson fans littered the streets of Santa Maria,
California with confetti as they celebrated the pop star’s
acquittal of child molestation charges.

Several hundred fans who had spent months outside of the
courthouse during the trial whooped and waved banners and flags as
they hugged and celebrated with each other in the streets.

Some had ditched jobs and flown from nations as far a field as Japan
and Germany to lend Jackson their support.

But the 46-year-old singer opted not to join the celebrations when he left
the courthouse minutes after the verdict was read out.

A grim-faced Jackson walked out of the courtroom with his family
Members–including mother Katharine, father Joe, brother
Jermaine and sisters LaToya and Janet in tow–and immediately
entered a waiting vehicle, only blowing kisses to his fans.

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