Fox 11 Archives: A Courthouse Red Carpet For Michael Jackson

(FOX 11) Eleven years ago this week Michael Jackson got the red carpet treatment as he entered a county courthouse in Santa Maria, north of Santa Barbara. The King of Pop was there to answer a ten count criminal indictment which included charges of conspiracy, lewd acts upon a child and kidnapping. The crimes allegedly took place at his nearby Neverland Ranch. Despite the seriousness of the charges, the atmosphere outside the courthouse was festive. A large crowd of fans cheered as Jackson got out of his SUV. Even some of the deputies were smiling as he entered the building. Inside, he was handed an I.D. tag and "wanded" with a hand-held metal detector.

In the courtroom, during a 40 minute hearing, Jackson softly answered "not guilty" to the charges. Minutes later his voice was a lot stronger, making a short statement to reporters, in which he thanked his fans and spoke of his ties to the community. His attorney, Tom Mesereau, was more direct: angrily proclaiming Jackson's innocence.

It was months before the trial finally started, and a verdict wasn't rendered until June the following year. After seven days of deliberations the jury found Jackson not guilty on all counts. Later, some of the jurors expressed regret about their decision. It wasn't the first or the last time Jackson would deal with charges or accusations like the ones in this case.

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