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Jackson friends, foes weigh in on verdict

Elizabeth Taylor says: ‘Thank God Michael is vindicated’
/ Source: Access Hollywood

Michael Jackson's fans and friends around the world are celebrating his total acquittal on child molestation and conspiracy charges.

Elizabeth Taylor issued a statement through her publicist. “Thank God Michael is vindicated for all time,” she said. “Now maybe people will leave him alone.”

In Britain, Jackson's friend, alleged psychic Uri Geller, was overwhelmed by the resounding innocent verdict. Geller said he was at a loss for words. It was Geller who helped set up the TV interview in which the singer said he sometimes shared a bed with children.

"The jury has spoken,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “I hope that a lesson will be learned from this. The healing process must begin." Jackson served as a spiritual advisor to Michael Jackson and his family during the trial, eventually drawing the wrath of defense attorney Thomas Mesereau for his frequent comments to the press.

Fans and the curious in many places had ready access to live continuous trial coverage. Even the Arab news channels al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya cut to live coverage of the courthouse in Santa Maria, California.

Not everyone was celebrating.

"My past history with Mr. Jackson had absolutely, unequivocally nothing to do with our evaluation of this particular case,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon. “That's been a nice little 30-second sound bite the media has used to try and justify this thing. But it never had anything to do with either the sheriff's investigation or our decision to file."

“I think that this is a severe blow to the district attorney's office in Santa Barbara," said former Jackson attorney Brian Oxman.

Laugh Factory comedy club owner Jamie Masada, who facilitated Jackson’s first contact with the accuser and testified for the prosecution, was also sanguine. “We all have to respect the jury’s decision,” Masada said. “It is what it is.”

“This is a stunning victory for Michael Jackson, and a devastating defeat for district attorney Tom Sneddon” said Michael Levine, who represented Michael Jackson in 1993 during the first child molestation investigation. “While I doubt even Michael Jackson fans who are celebrating would invite him to baby sit their children, today’s decision saved the life of Michael Jackson though the trial has stained his legacy significantly.”

Even those with vague connections to Jackson weighed in.

"This is a vindication that people are innocent until proven guilty,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. “There's a lot of pain, a lot of hurt here. Children have been dragged into court, Michael's reputation has been damaged severely, but I think the criminal justice system worked this time."

"Michael Jackson is not a kid anymore, he needs to grow up now,” said Karen Manning, 50, of Las Vegas, who sat in court for two months in support of Jackson. "Michael Jackson put himself into this situation and he knows he can't blame anyone but himself."