After seven days of deliberations, jurors in the trial against Michael Jackson have found the 46-year-old pop star not guilty on child molestation and all related charges. The highly anticipated verdict was read at the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse just after 2:15 p.m. PST.
Charges included one count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion; four counts of a lewd act on a child under 14; one count of an attempted lewd act on a child under 14; and four counts of administering alcohol to enable child molestation.
The verdict brings to a close a trial that has captivated the nation to a degree rarely seen, and has even been the subject of a daily TV show in which each day's events in court were reenacted by actors. In a growing trend, Web sites and journalists are using technology to report progress of the trial in real-time. Some sites offer a virtual play-by-play of the trial, including news updates every few minutes as well as photos and live video footage.
E! Online has a Web page devoted to the trial that includes video footage, a daily reader poll, and allows readers to subscribe to "trial alerts" in order to get the latest information as it happens. At CourtTV.com, readers could view the verdict form in PDF format. Countless blogs devoted specifically to the topic have followed the trial from its beginning.
In another recent high-profile case, the Laci Peterson murder trial, reporters relayed news of the trial via text messaging in order to get the quickest possible updates to their newsrooms, and the sentencing was covered live via a wireless device, adding a new dimension to TV news coverage.
Read more about the cyberrace to get news of the Jackson verdict out here.