We heard endlessly after the Jackson verdict that no, celebrity had nothing to do with it; the jurors understood how troubling was his behavior around little boys, and they probably believed that he had indeed been guilty of molestation in the earlier case — the one where he paid off the accuser — but that there just wasn’t quite enough evidence to convict in this case.
I was skeptical, as you may remember. Today I wake up, look at Drudge, and am greeted with this AP story:
Juror Attends Jackson Family’s Big Party
Jun 18, 9:26 AM (ET)
by Linda Deutsch
SANTA YNEZ, Calif. (AP) – Michael Jackson’s family and fans – and at least one of the jurors who acquitted him of child molestation – gathered Friday night for a huge party that was billed as a celebration of thanks….
Among the approximately 400 people who arrived at the Chumash Indian Casino was juror Pauline Coccoz. When she walked into the casino and heard Jackson’s music playing, Coccoz said, the enormity of what had transpired hit her.
“They were playing ‘Beat It,’ and I almost started to cry,” she said as she waited to enter the showroom.
(Somehow, the misused word I emphasized above seems more apt than what AP meant to say.)
After running through a typically breezy description of the bash, Ms. Deutsch returns to Juror Coccoz:
Coccoz said that when someone gave her the wristbands she decided to bring her family [!], partly as a public display of her confidence in the jury’s verdict.
After the trial ended Monday, Coccoz, 45, was among the jurors who criticized the testimony of the accuser’s mother. Coccoz also questioned the woman’s parenting choices.
“What mother in her right mind would … just freely volunteer your child to sleep with someone, and not so much Michael Jackson but anyone, for that matter?” Coccoz said Monday.
Darn that mother! She should have known better than to let her kid get within seventy feet of Michael Jackson’s bed! It’s all her fault, not Michael’s, if anything happened.
The King himself couldn’t be bothered to show; perhaps he was in the midst of his own private celebration elsewhere. Pity… he missed his chance to give Ms. Coccoz a kiss and a nice, framed autograph as a memento of the “enormity” whose ending, in which she played such an integral part, moved the woman so much.
I am one of the most optimistic guys I know about the future of civilization. But some days it’s more difficult than others.