On November 20, 2003, singer Michael Jackson was arrested on suspicion of child molestation. More specifically, Jackson was accused of having "substantial sexual conduct" and engaging in lewd contact with a child younger than 14.
Jackson had been in Las Vegas, Nevada shooting a music video at the time the announcement of his status as a wanted man was made.
"Michael would never harm a child in any way," Jackson’s spokesperson, Stuart Backerman, said at the time. "When the evidence is presented and the allegations proven to be malicious and wholly unfounded, Michael will be able to put this nightmare behind him."
A decade before, Jackson had settled a lawsuit with the family of a boy who had stayed at Neverland Ranch (the pop star’s bizarre homestead, which resembled a theme park) and claimed that he had been molested. It was settled out of court for a reported $15 million.
Jackson was arrested after flying into California and surrendering himself. He was seen being driven to the Santa Barbara Country Jail in handcuffs, and after posting a $3 million bond, he was immediately released. Many commenters at the time wondered about the racial elements of the public arrest.
After a 14-week trial, Jackson was found not guilty on all charges.
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