THRILLER IN COURTROOM (Pop star is acquitted on all 10 counts in a sweeping rejection of case; jurors say they didn’t believe accusers)
Michael Jackson, 46, was aquitted on all 10 counts in his child molestation trial, in a stunning rebuff to prosecutors who have pursued him for more than a decade.
A document showed that, earlier in 2003, social workers cleared Jackson of molesting the young boy now accusing him. An internal memo from the LA County Department of Children and Family Services, posted on the Internet, said their investigators and LAPD cops probed sex allegations against Jackson in February 2003 and found them unfounded, according to the blockbuster correspondence. Jackson's defense team said the memo exonerates the pop star against any charges that he allegedly molested a young cancer survivor at his Neverland Ranch. The document was posted on The Smoking Gun Web site and confirmed as authentic by Los Angeles officials.
Prosecutors formally charged Jackson with nine felony counts of child molestation on December 18, 2003, claiming he twice administered an intoxicating agent to the young boy in hopes of seducing him.
The molestation charges, if proven, carried sentences of up to 8 years each, but lawyers said there is a law that caps the maximum prison term for such crimes at about 20 years. (Los Angeles, California)