Michael Beats It Easily

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Michael Jackson was acquitted today on child-molestation charges after a trial that started in February and lasted several months in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California. He had faced up to 20 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. At trial Jackson faced sometimes damning testimony from ex-employees who had fell out of favor. Yet, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, brought in by the prosecution team, instead backed him. Jackson, 46, was charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy, cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo, two years ago. He faced a judgment on 10 separate counts, including conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment or extortion; four counts of administering alcohol to facilitate child molestation; one count of attempted lewd conduct; and, four counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 14.

The verdict was read at 4:45 p.m. today and the Jackson family heard it in the court room. Even at the end jurors were still debating the case as evidenced by a request they made for the continuation of the reading of Jackson’s teenage accuser's testimony. At trial Jackson’s lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. had questioned the mental health of the boy’s mother, when she insisted on being called Janet Jackson, and her entire testimony. They also targeted on the boy’s earlier denials to a teacher that he had ever been molested. Mesereau claimed the mother was a gold digger who had previously won a settlement from a department store after concoction a story of false arrest, imprisonment and sexual abuse in that case. Jackson’s troubles began after a television documentary program he conducted with U.K. journalist Martin Bashir, where he discussed sharing his bed young boys. The version of the documentary which was aired internationally depicted Jackson in a very negative and predatory manner.

“I’m glad he had the money to hire top lawyers. He’s lucky his lawyers were excellent because there was not a single Black juror,� said Elizabeth Mackie, a shopper on Harlem’s busy 125th Street today. “His money saved him. They wanted to railroad him.� But another shopper begged to differ, in a sharp retort. “Come on. The man wasn’t even Black anymore,� Said Henry Smikle, who says he works for the Department of Sanitation. “The jury makeup didn’t matter. He turned his back on his blackness and wanted to be white. He’s lucky they let him go.� The general consensus on the streets of Harlem seemed to be in Jackson’s favor. “I’m telling you, no matter how much money and fame you gain in this country---a Black man is a Black man,� said Kassim Nasser, a street book vendor. “Wasn’t it Malcolm X who said a Black man in a business suit and a PhD is still a nigger? Let’s see if Mike remembers that next time.� Judge Rodney Melville was attacked in some circles for allowing sex abuse cases that the entertainer had settled years ago to be introduced in this trial.

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