Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, multi-million dollar recording artist and singer beloved by millions of fans all over the world came back into the public spotlight once more after the release of a documentary called “Leaving Neverland” which renewed suspicion among the public, police and media agencies that Jackson had inappropriate relationships with young children in the 90’s and 2000’s.
The documentary which primarily centres on the lives of two men, Wade Robson, an Australian that had met Jackson as a young boy in the late 80’s and James Safechuck, an American who met Jackson at a similar time. The documentary examines the relationship that Jackson had with the two boys and their families, how Robson’s family moved from Brisbane to be closer to Jackson and tells the story of the alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Jackson. A good criminal lawyer might have been able to help these boys.
Jackson’s name has been under this type of scrutiny before, the last major time being in 2005 when he was tried and eventually proven to be not guilty. The below will take a look at some aspects of the criminal trial and how Jackson avoided jail time.
In late 2004, a grand jury indicted Jackson on charges of lewd behaviour with a minor under 14 and on February 28th, 2005, his criminal trial began.
Making headlines all over the world for the enormity of the crimes as well as the high-profile witnesses called to defend him, including Macauley Caulkin, Jackson is accused by several victims during proceedings. One alleged victim is Gavin Arvizo, a cancer survivor, who at the age of 10 years old appeared in a documentary detailing the everyday life of Jackson and his relationships with different children.
He took the stand in the trial, alleging the Jackson gave him alcohol as a 10-year-old as well as touching him inappropriately. The mother, brother and sister of Arvizo also gave accounts of Jackson’s behaviour, telling the jury that he moved them from place to place to keep them out of the public eye, that he showed the two boys pornographic material and that at one stage on a flight, he licked one of the boy’s head’s.
Adding to a growing list of victims, former employees of Jackson testified against him including one maid who worked on the Neverland ranch. She gave accounts of Jackson’s behaviour which outlined his guilt. However, the boy she namechecked in the trial took the stand to deny any wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. The same for Hollywood star, Macauley Culkin who told the court that any accusations were ridiculous.
According to O’Sullivan Legal, the defence team in the trial picked apart the credibility of the Arvizo family, highlighting the differences in the accounts told by each member of the family. While Arvizo had told a an official at school that nothing out of the ordinary had happened too, while others told the defence team that they had witnessed the mother of the family coaching them how to lie on the stand.
At the end of the trial in the middle of June 2005, Jackson was acquitted. The jury deliberated for a little over 24 hours and found him not guilty of any wrongdoing. Wade Robson, one of the boys that protested Jackson’s innocence tried to sue his estate in 2013, but it was found to be too long after the fact, the fact that Wade had staunchly defended Jackson for years may have had something to do with it too.
There are still those who believe Jackson did no wrong, but having died in 2009, there will never be that complete closure to this story despite what the jury decided in his criminal trial.