Breakin’ It Down
Shrouded in a cloud of secrecy and saturated by media speculation, Jacko’s molestation charges have quickly turned from a serious legal matter to a blatant excuse for VH1 to rerun “The Jacksons: An American Dream” twice a day. Here at Artsweek, we feel your pain and hereby attempt to bring you the facts as the gloved one and his team of experts move toward what is sure to be one of the most highly publicized court cases in history.

The Charges – Jackson’s case will revolve around a total of 10 charges of child molestation, including:
One conspiracy count involving allegations of child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion
Four counts of lewd acts involving a minor
One count involving an attempted lewd act upon a child
Four counts of administering an intoxicating agent to a child

The Players – Since firing attorneys Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman in April 2004, Jackson has employed the services of Thomas Mesereau, esquire. Notorious Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon is leading the prosecution while Judge Rodney Melville, from the Santa Barbara Superior Court, is residing over the proceedings. Though juror selection is still in progress, a number of A- and B-list celebrities are being discussed as potential witnesses, including Jay Leno, Larry King, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and his little brother Aaron Carter, Corey Feldman, Chris Tucker, Kobe Bryant and David Blaine.

The Repercussions – Along with the $3 million bail he posted in November 2003, and his ever-mounting legal fees, Jackson faces a potentially hefty sentence. While Michael has pled not guilty to all 10 counts of molestation, he faces a maximum prison term of 21 years of he is convicted.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Santa Maria
With the King of Pop’s court case in full swing less than an hour away, you may be thinking the opportunity just screams “road trip.” For those of us unwilling to risk jail time for scaling the walls of the Neverland Ranch, Santa Maria offers the ever-elusive chance to sneak a peak at Jackson himself, along with a superfluous collection of taco stands that put most towns to shame. A mere hop, skip and a jump away from city hall, the day traveler can take a peek at what may be the most sparse indoor mall in California. Still, the second floor laser tag arena is ideal for those long breaks between Jacko’s courthouse entrance and exit. If you’re the outdoorsy type, a local lawn bowling and recreation center lies directly behind the courthouse and offers the chance to both stretch your legs and mingle with network newscasters and community members alike. If you’re willing to venture further away from home base, we highly recommend taking in one of the many local vineyard tours. Though bare of the press hullabaloo, a glass of the central coast’s finest offers the ideal way to cure that inescapable headache following a day in the trenches with 50 goodhearted MJ fanatics.