Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts of molesting a former cancer patient who he had befriended, despite lingering questions in jurors minds of whether Jackson had sexually abused other children. Three members of the jury told reporters that they were troubled by the fact that Jackson regularly shared his bed with children, but that they lacked sufficient evidence to convict Jackson of molesting this particular accuser.
"I feel that Michael Jackson probably has molested boys," said jury foreman Raymond Hultman, following the verdict. I cannot believe that . . . this man could sleep in the same bedroom for 365 straight days and not do something more than just watch television and eat popcorn. I mean, that doesn't make sense to me. But that doesn't make him guilty of the charges that were presented in this case, and that's where we had to make our decision." Another jury member, Eleanor Cook, expressed similar suspicions, but added, “We couldn't judge on that because it wasn't what we were there to do.”
Jackson had been accused of ten charges—four counts of committing lewd acts with a child, four counts of plying the child with alcohol, and one count of holding the boy and his family against their will. The charges carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
The security manager of Jackson's Neverland Ranch, Terry Anderson, responded to news of the acquittal by proclaiming, “Justice was served.” Maybe he’s right. A source close to the prosecution’s team told me that once the allegation was made, they expected children to come out of the woodwork with stories of how Jackson had used his superstar status to prey upon them. That never happened. Meanwhile, the defense successfully demonstrated that the accuser’s mother had lied in a previous suit against J.C. Penney and had a history of welfare fraud—twin facts that allowed the defense to paint Jackson’s accusers as con artists trying to capitalize on Jackson’s notoriety.