Jackson Jurors May Write Books

Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2005. AP

Their verdict said not-guilty. But their books may say something else.

Two of the jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case are said to be writing books. And the New York Daily News reports that the books will say at least three members of the panel first thought Jackson was guilty -- before changing their minds and acquitting the pop star on all charges last June.

An executive with an entertainment company is quoted as saying the title of one of the books about the Jackson trial will be: "Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird."

The books promise an insider's look at what went on behind the scenes at the trial.

A jury acquitted Jackson on June 13 of four counts of child molestation, four counts of administering alcohol to a minor to commit a felony, one count of attempted molestation and one count of conspiracy.

Ever since his acquittal, there's been talk that Michael Jackson is shopping around for a new country to call home. A published report is hinting that the home the pop star may have settled upon is in Bahrain.

The New York Post quotes sources as saying Jackson has bought 14 acres of land in Bahrain, near the palace home of a sheik who's a good pal of his. The paper says its sources say Jackson has enjoyed his vacation in Bahrain because he can dress in the same way as the local residents and go out without being noticed.

There's also been speculation the singer might move to Berlin. Two of Jackson's lawyers say they know of no plans for the pop star to buy land in Bahrain.

The lawyers have been very successful in guarding Jackson's privacy - to the point that some legal experts worry a court ruling last week could become a precedent shutting off public access to information in high-profile cases.

In a one-sentence decision Wednesday, the California Supreme Court denied a request by news organizations, including The Associated Press, to "depublish" the ruling - meaning it will stay on the legal books and can be used by judges and lawyers on the issue of sealing documents in other cases. The ruling was made available Friday.

"It is a very dangerous precedent because it gives the court an opportunity to close out the public from critical information during a high-publicity trial," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. "This formalizes the celebrity exception to the First Amendment."

A three-member panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in April that the judge in Jackson's child molestation trial had been justified in sealing dozens of court records.

The judge has said releasing the documents could have prejudiced the jury pool. He said he was protecting the fair trial right of the pop superstar who was acquitted of all charges in June.
  • Sean Alfano

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