Michael Jackson’s Legal Legacy

When Michael Jackson died unexpectedly June 25, there were two points that summed up his obituary: He was a million-selling mega-superstar, and his personal life was sketchy at best.


Jackson’s alleged criminal history found him under investigation for child abuse twice. A 1993 case was dropped without formal charges being filed, while a 2005 case resulted in Jackson being acquitted of all charges.Michael Jackson at 2005 trial

1993 Case

In 1993, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office began its investigation of Jackson following allegations of sexual abuse by Evan Chandler, the father of Jordan Chandler, a 13-year-old boy who Jackson had befriended.

Prior to the allegations, Jackson was rumored to be living with the Chandler family, and was close friends with Jordan, a fan he had met in 1992.

The District Attorney’s office searched Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, and the Jackson family’s home, but was unable to turn up incriminating evidence.

Famously, the District Attorney’s office examined Jackson in the nude, following testimony from Jordan Chandler about the appearance of his genitalia. While the description was allegedly similar, it was not close enough to be used as evidence.

Two days after the investigation, Jackson issued a statement by satellite from his Neverland Ranch, describing his disgust at the proceedings and the mass media, and affirming his innocence.

After having developed a drug addiction from the stress of the proceedings, and weary of the media, Jackson eventually settled out of court with the Chandler family. Unable to secure Jordan Chandler’s testimony, the prosecution ceased its investigation without formally issuing any charges.

Bashir Documentary

The majority of Michael’s fans, and America at large, believed Jackson’s claims of innocence. However, his reputation was tarnished.

In 2002, British journalist Martin Bashir began filming a documentary, Living with Michael Jackson, that interviewed and followed Jackson around over a period of 8 months, from May 2002 to January 2003.

Airing in February 2003, the documentary immediately drew speculation and re-fanned the flames surrounding Jackson’s relationship with children.

In particular, Michael was accompanied by a 13-year-old boy, Gavin Arvizo, throughout most of the film, and Jackson spoke about sharing his bed with Arvizo and other boys.

People vs. Jackson

Following the broadcast, Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon, the same man who investigated Jackson 10 years earlier, indicted Jackson and his aides on charges of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion.

In June, 2003, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department began its investigation of Jackson. In November, more than 70 members of the DA’s office and Sheriff’s department arrived at Neverland Ranch with a search warrant — the largest “raid” in American history that wasn’t for a murderer of serial killer.

On November 20, Jackson flew from Las Vegas, where he was performing, to Santa Barbara for a voluntary arrest.

In a following press conference, Sneddon was quoted as saying “We got him. We finally got him,” despite the fact that the investigation had only just begun, leading many the believe Sneddon had a vendetta against Jackson.

In 2004, Jackson was arraigned, and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against him (after which he hopped onto his car and began dancing for his fans). A grand jury unveiled the charges against Jackson and five co-conspirators, setting the stage for his jury trial.

Jury Trial

Michael Jackson Thriller

Jackson’s jury trial began on February 28, 2005.

The judge allowed the prosecution to present evidence that Jackson had a habitual criminal mindset, with evidence from the 1993 investigation being submitted in addition to evidence from the current proceedings.

Both the prosecution and the criminal defense called a wide range of witnesses: five men who alleged that Jackson had abused them as boys testified for the prosecution; Jay Leno and Macaulay Caulkin, among others, testified for the defense.

Finally, after all the evidence was considered, the jury returned its verdict on June 13, 2005: not guilty on all 10 counts.

The investigation and trial lasted for 574 days.

Once again, although Jackson was never convicted of any crimes, the view of Jackson as an alleged criminal was one that could not be eliminated. In the years before his death, Jackson became increasingly reclusive, even moving to Bahrain. Jackson returned to the spotlight while planning a massive farewell tour before his death from cardiac arrest at age 50.


3 Responses to Michael Jackson’s Legal Legacy

  1. Kimberly says:

    This whole child molestation thing is one of the biggest BS stories out there. This is a man that was pure at heart and the only thing that people seem to be doing is putting him down. I never in my life seen people get there rocks off by down grading someone. If I had a child and it was to be at the home of Mr. Jackson and my child sleep in the same room as him. I would look at it as how safe he was and think it was not sexually in anyway. You people really got to get your minds out of the clouds by thinking someone is out to get lucky 24/7. If you people would open your eyes and look at the whole story and not what you want to then you might be able to see the truth. Here is a man that has your child in his home that people would do anything to meet him. Place you’re the safety of your child above his own and get stabbed in the back for doing so. Come on people do you really think that a million dollar man worth as much as he was going to sexually abuse a child. Come on get over yourself. I will say over his death I have cried a lot and never meet the man. But everything you people put him through really makes me sick to my stomach. Why can these people not live a normally life?

  2. sharon brown says:

    essential by submitting the evidence from both investigations, the 2003 and 1993 he is cleared of all wrongdoing in both instances. the jury entering not guilty verdicts are saying they don’t buy the evidence and the evidence from 1993 has not withstood the test of time!
    to dangle a child out of a window and to sleep in a bed with a child shows a lapse in judgement. not intent to harm or a criminal mindset. in his childlike manner,at times, he handled situations different from the average adult. not that they always get it right either.
    the 2 aforementioned instances gives a glimpse into his decision making process. he didn’t see the harm,(not verbatum) yeah he’s hanging out of the window but of course i wasn’t going to drop him or yeah he’s laying in my bed but of course i’m not going to (molest) harm him. i think he uses the word harm instead of molest because molest is such an ugly notion,act,thought. both actions are not societal norms because abuse exists. it is inappropriate in this climate. but it’s also not uncommon for children to snuggle into the beds of parents or parent figures in nonsexual contexts. it’s a hard line.
    do i see any sexual motives behind what michael did? that would have to be proven to me! innocent until proven guilty. which he was! i’m on the side of truth. doesn’t matter if it’s michael jackson or anonymous stranger. i’m open to the truth. the only thing proven over and over has been his innocence!

  3. Kaitlyn says:

    Michael is surely innocent. What possessed those children? I couldn’t tell you that.
    I might point out that 13 is a tender age for manipulation because of the simple fact, especially if it is by your father;mother;brother;sister, anyone older than you that you see as a role model or maybe just one whom you have an adoration for.

    For example, a cult, children are born in it, or maybe join it because of their parents or just run off and end up joining, they allow themselves to be manipulated and, if I may… hypnotised.

    Michael Travesser whom calls himself the Messiah, his “children” ((not blood)) are the ones whom have let themselves be hypnotised, are mainly young women, automatically, let’s say he raped them all because they were 13 – 15, in awe of him, and ultimately loved him.

    Hmm, this occurs to me like Michael JACKSON, he did not molest anyone, any age, no way. You’d bond with someone your gender no matter what age because of similar interests. Hell, my husband has bonded with my 12 year old brother because of Games, does that mean he’ll molest him? No wait, my husband isn’t rich and famous, my brother isn’t molested then.

    Even though they teenage boy conquered the cancer ((the 2000′s trial)) WHY would you accuse someone, particularly Michael, of doing that, when his fans know that it’s not like him to do that, he’d surely kill himself before doing that. They take advantage of Michael’s generosity and a way of acceptance, anything happens to or about him all you get is an “Oh,” and then he shrugs it off.

    He was highly depressed when a child he had been with yesterday had passed today. ((hypothetically))
    Manoeuvring around things like that for him are tough, because he loves children with all his heart. He is in a sense a lady, knowing when to go and when to let go. ((not implying he is a woman))

    Michael was proven innocent because God was on his side, and that is a way of triumphing over Satan in a different form ((the boys)).
    I don’t care what other people say about Michael, my opinion about Michael is that he is a loving, caring, wholehearted gentleman.

    I am not a professional at this, I am a loving fan of Michael and I am devastated by his death and want to choke Jordan Chandler because he admitted AFTER Michael died, that he lied.

    Praise the Lord for Michael, may he rest in peace…
    Love, Kait.
    P.S: This is a poorly put together statement, my opinions in real life of what I want to do to Jordan Chandler are way more graphic in nature.

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