'We expected some better evidence but it just wasn't there' say jurors

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The Independent US

The jurors who tried Michael Jackson said the evidence bought against him had been a disappointment after they cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The jurors who tried Michael Jackson said the evidence bought against him had been a disappointment after they cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Within minutes of clearing Michael Jackson on all 10 counts, the jury of four men and eight women was hastily assembled for an impromptu press conference, where they shared their experience of the four-month trial with the world's media, detailing their difficulties in reaching a decision after deliberating for more than 30 hours over seven days.

In a scene unlikely ever to occur in Britain, where the principle of jury deliberations remaining sacrosanct makes it illegal to discuss what goes on in the jury room, one of the jurors said he had hoped to find a "smoking gun", but it had not been there. "We expected some better evidence, something more convincing but it just wasn't there," he said.

"You hope that maybe you will find a smoking gun, something you can grab on to one way or another and we had difficulty in finding that."

A middle-aged woman juror said the point at which they reached their verdict had been extremely emotional, adding: "I wasn't the only one crying".

They all agreed there was no specific piece of evidence put before them which helped make up their minds, nor one witness whose testimony they found more reliable than others.

Several jurors expressed frustration and disbelief at the theatrical testimony of Gavin's mother, Janet Arvizo, who has been accused of attempting to frame the pop star.

More than one juror who had children themselves said they had difficulty dealing with the testimony concerning Jackson sharing his bed with young boys.

"As a parent you spend every moment of your day protective of what happens to your children," said one. "What kind of mother in her right mind would allow that to happen, to freely volunteer your child to sleep with anyone, not just Michael Jackson, but anyone?"

Juror number five drew a laugh as she admitted how much she had disliked it when Mrs Arvizo had snapped her fingers at the jury. "I thought, 'don't you snap your fingers at me'," she said.

Martin Bashir's controversial documentary, in which Jackson admitted sharing his bedroom with young boys, had not played a pivotal role in the jurors' deliberations, they said.

"We realise that it stirred things up and were trying to grasp the reality of what it had done to everyone's lives," one said. They agreed that after looking at the evidence all 12 were thinking along similar lines on a verdict from the outset. A few admitted they had not expected to return a verdict yesterday, but had felt refreshed and clear-headed after the weekend. "There was tons of evidence but it always came back to the same thing," one juror said. "It was just not enough."

In a demonstration of the degree to which the trial had been watched the world over, one Latin American reporter requested that any jurors who spoke Spanish gave an answer in that language, as well as English, for the benefit of the millions of Spanish speakers following the case.

Reporting from the trial had already disclosed the profiles of the jurors, one of whom is known to have secured a book deal to share each and every detail about the trial. The age, race, job and family background of all twelve men and women had been revealed by the media reporting on the case, who would scan their faces daily for clues as to which way they were leaning.