19 Ridiculous Moments from the Michael Jackson Trial
James Greene Jr.
2005’s most talked-about trial was that of pop star Michael Jackson. Charged with allegedly molesting a thirteen-year-old cancer patient at his Neverland Ranch, there was no question that this case would either make or break the 46 year-old singer. There was also no question that the State of California v. the Baby-Dangling, Nose-Altering, Chimp-Harboring Ex-Husband of Elvis Presley’s daughter would bear numerous moments of pure, unadulterated ridiculousness. Here now, nineteen of those moments, presented in chronological order.
1. The Mug Shot
MJ’s mugshot was a great reminder that the star was no longer the jheri-curled black man who moonwalked into our lives twenty years ago. Eyes almost bulging out of his thin white head, red lips drawn underneath the remnants of his nose – he could almost pass for that other great ’80s icon, E.T., sans the warmth.
2. The SUV Dance
Following his arraignment, a brazen Jacko hopped up onto the roof of his infamous black SUV and did a little dance for the throng of fans that had gathered outside the Santa Maria courthouse. The impromptu shuffle was Michael’s first public performance in close to four years.
3. Deepak Chopra, Rapper
I’ll admit, I didn’t know who Deepak Chopra was before the Jackson trial. However, I had heard the name and was fairly certain he was not a part of G-Unit. One prospective juror thought otherwise. When questioned as to the identity of the spiritualist and author, the would-be replied, “I think he’s a rapper.” I wonder if this person thinks Biggie Smalls is a value size at Wendy’s.
4. Jacko Can’t Make It On Time Part I
There are plenty of times to be fashionably late. The first day of your molestation trial is not one of them. Regardless, Jacko turned up twenty-one minutes late that day, receiving a polite but firm warning from the judge. It would not be his last.
5. E! Reenactments
In a giant middle finger to the “no cameras in the courtroom” ruling, the E! cable channel took the daily court transcripts and churned out highly-detailed reenactments every night, accurate to every cough and stutter. No, Jay Leno and Chris Tucker did not play themselves.
6. The Neverland Spa
Early in the trial, Jackson employee Carole McCoy claimed she gave the accuser’s mother a full body wax during the period MJ allegedly held the accuser’s family captive in 2003. Treatment like that would definitely give me Stockholm Syndrome.
7. How Many Licks Does It Take?
There were several days of explicit and graphic sexual testimony during the trial, but the most unnerving accusation came from the accuser’s mother, who claimed she witnessed Jackson repeatedly licking her son’s head like some sort of cat. Maybe that video where Jacko transformed into a panther wasn’t special effects wizardry at all. Maybe he is truly is a panther-human hybrid. Why else would the man have a zoo in his backyard? Unfortunately, this theory was not explored by either the prosecution or the defense, so we’ll just have to wait and see if MJ exhibits any other feline behavior.
8. Applehead, Doo Doo, & Blowhole
And you thought Blanket was the only victim. It was revealed by the accuser’s brother when he took the stand that Jacko gives everyone stupid nicknames. The accuser was “Applehead” or “Doo Doo,” depending on Jackson’s mood. The brother claimed he was dubbed “Blowhole,” but that it had no sexual connotation. If you think I’m going near that one, you’re nuts.
9. Got Milk?
It was a tense moment when the accuser himself testified, and he corroborated his brother’s sordid tales from Neverland. The boy also went into further detail regarding the Internet pornography Jackson allegedly showed them, stating that the singer brought up a photo of a topless woman and commented, “Got milk?” If this story is true, it proves two things: A) that Michael Jackson has a basic understanding of the workings of the female body and B) everybody, and I mean everybody, downloads porn from the Internet.
Macauly Culkin, the one celebrity many pundits speculated wouldn’t testify, proved to be a solid witness for the defense, taking the stand and easily shooting down Neverland chef Phillip LeMarque’s claims that he saw the child actor being touched inappropriately by Jackson. Too bad the prosecution didn’t question Mac about his two largest crimes: Getting Even With Dad and Richie Rich.
11. Jacko Can’t Make It On Time Part II
On the last day of testimony during the second week of the trial, MJ was late again. This time it took him an hour to make it to court, and when he did, he strolled in wearing pajama bottoms. The judge was incensed, and fashion gurus called for Jackson’s head, but the singer was ultimately not punished. I guarantee you if Robert Blake had pulled that stunt, they would have found him in contempt.
12. Jacko Fan Harasses Journalist
B.J. Hickman quit his job and drove all the way from Knoxville, TN, to hang around outside the courthouse, cheering for Jackson alongside hundreds of other fans. Hickman was just another face in the crowd until he began screaming obscenities at Court TV’s Diane Dimond one afternoon (I assume he overheard her saying less than favorable things about Jacko). Somewhat alarmed, Dimond contacted authorities and Hickman was ordered to stay away from the journalist. B.J. may have kept his distance, but he kept yelling, ruining countless hours of videotape for Court TV. For all his efforts, I guarantee you he will end up an answer in a future edition of Trivial Pursuit.
13. Clown Lady
There were many enthusiastic fans of Michael’s outside the courthouse for the duration of the trial. There were also some nutjobs. Eveline Popp was one such nut, dressing in clown outfits and clutching a Michael Jackson marionette. The hordes of elementary school children she was clearly looking to entertain never showed up, so Eveline was forced to put on puppet shows for the 18 and up crowd.
14. Spike Controversy
A handful of the pro-Jackson contingent placed signage supporting MJ along the road leading to Neverland during the court proceedings. Supposedly, these signs were run over one night by members of the anti-Jackson movement. This spurned the pro-Jackos to place tire-popping spike strips in front of the signs when they put them back up. Before World War III could break out over a few floppy pieces of cardboard, local authorities stepped in and forced a handful of sullen Jackson supporters to take down their manila shows of support.
15. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
“Late Night with Conan O’Brien” staple Triumph the Insult Comic Dog couldn’t resist teasing Jackson’s courthouse peanut gallery for a taped piece on the day of closing statements. The cigar-chomping puppet received the Eminem treatment from most of the spectators, who seemed genuinely angered by his presence. Eveline Popp shooed him away (she only deals with marionettes, apparently), an MJ impersonator cursed at him, and one kid even flipped Triumph the bird. One can only imagine the fury B.J. Hickman would have wrought upon Robert Smigel’s right hand had their paths crossed.
16. Jacko Can’t Make It On Time Part III
In a final dramatic move, the King of Pop’s SUV rolled up to the courthouse an hour after the jury announced they had reached a verdict. Several networks broke into their afternoon broadcasts to air footage of the MJ caravan crawling down the highway. Next time Jacko will know not to hire A.C. Cowlings to be his chauffeur.
17. When Doves Fly
After it was announced that Michael Jackson had been found not guilty on all counts, uber-fan Fariba Garmani released fourteen white doves ouside the courthouse – one for each count. One has to wonder what Garmani would have done had Jackson only been cleared on some of the charges. Say he had been found guilty on at least two counts. Would she have only released twelve of the doves? At any rate, all the birds ascended to the sky that afternoon, undoubtedly relieved that they were no longer in trapped in makeshift Jacksonland.
18. Second Thoughts?
A week or two after the trial ended, two jurors came forward to say they had been pressured to acquit Jacko. Eleanor Cook and Ray Hultman both claimed that foreman Paul Rodriguez threatened to boot them from the jury if they did not agree to acquit. This was completely contradictory for Cook, who had been adamant in expressing her belief that Jacko was innocent immediately following the verdict. Some involved in the proceedings decried Cook and Hultman’s new claims, stating that they were just looking for publicity (both allegedly had books in the works; Cook’s was reportedly titled, “Guilty As Sin, Free As A Bird”).
19. The Bill
The final cost of the Michael Jackson molestation trial was $2.7 million, which seems expensive until you consider some of the star power involved. Jay Leno, Chris Tucker, George Lopez, Macauly Culkin, and the King of Pop himself. You couldn’t get all those names into one movie on that budget. Take note, Hollywood directors. If you really want that dream cast to come through, a molestation trial might be the answer.
More from James Greene Jr.: www.jamesgreenejr.com