From MJ to OJ: The Top 5 Celebrity Trials of the Century

November 8, 2011 By:
From MJ to OJ: The Top 5 Celebrity Trials of the Century

On Monday, the public watched intently as the verdict was read to Dr. Conrad Murray. As it was announced that he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Michael Jackson, a crowd of cheers erupted outside the courthouse. People were ecstatic to see justice get served to someone they've probably never met before.

The public has an intense fascination with celebrity trials. Publicists and the media can manipulate most celebrity events, whether it's a new romance, a paternity suit or a divorce. And most of the time, we're not 100% sure if what we know is real or not. But when we see those stars in court, on trial, there's no denying the reality of what they're dealing with. The facts are there, the law is involved, and we see those celebs humanized. They go from characters on the covers of magazines to real citizens at the mercy of the judicial system. So we're rounding up the top five celebrity trials of the century.

Jennifer Hudson

5. The Jennifer Hudson Family Murders: When Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award, she was on top of the world. Unfortunately, that came crashing down in 2008, when the bodies of her mother and brother were found murdered in the family's Chicago home. Darnell Donerson and Jason Hudson were both shot to death. Three days after they were found, the body of Hudson's 7 year-old nephew was found in a SUV on the West Side. William Balfour, Jennifer's brother-in-law, became the prime suspect on December 2008. He plead not guilty. A month later, he was charged with first-degree murder and home invasion.

Martha Stewart

4. Martha Stewart's Obstruction Trial: Martha Stewart went on trial for securities fraud in January 2004. Part of the reason we were fascinated is because it was so hard to imagine America's mom in an orange jumpsuit. After a five-week long trial, Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators. She was sentenced to five months in a federal correctional facility and two years of supervised release. But Martha did surprisingly well in prison, garnering the nickname "M. Diddy."

Kobe Bryant

3. Kobe Bryant's Sexual Assault Case: In 2003, Bryant was arrested in connection with the sexual assault of 19 year-old hotel employee Katelyn Faber. The details were pretty gruesome. Faber claimed that Bryant had raped her in his hotel room, while Bryant contended that the sexual encounter was consensual. As a result, Bryant's endorsement contracts were disintegrated, even though the assault case was eventually dropped. It was dropped because Faber refused to testify in the trial. Bryant agreed to apologize for the incident, saying, "Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did." From there, Faber filed a separate lawsuit against Bryant, and both parties were able to settle. The specific terms of the settlement were not disclosed to the public.

OJ Simpson

2. The O.J. Simpson Murder Case That image of the white Bronco speeding down the freeway is forever burned into our minds, and it was only the start of what would become one of the most unbelievable trials of the century. On June 17, O.J. was expected to turn himself in for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend. But O.J. never showed up to the police station. His friend and defense lawyer, Robert Kardashian, showed up and read what sounded like a suicide note from Simpson, who was now missing.

Then, a motorist saw Simpson riding in his white Bronco, traveling north on Interstate 405, holding a gun to his head. From there, a full on police chase began, helicopters and all. About an hour and a half later, the chase ended at Simpson's home. Simpson eventually surrendered to authorities. And all that drama went down before the actual trial.

From there, the trial went on for nearly nine months, and was filled with shocking testimony, racial strife, and intense media scrutiny. At 10 am on October 3, 1995, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The trial was so huge, President Bill Clinton was briefed on security measures if rioting occurred after the verdict.

Michael Jackson

1. Michael Jackson: But beating out even O.J. Simpson's infamous case is the legal drama surrounding the life of Michael Jackson. Jackson's life has been involved in so much controversy, tragedy, and legal proceedings, he takes the number one spot.

In 1993, Jackson was first accused of child sexual abuse by a 13 year-old boy. After submitting to a humiliating 25 minute strip search, the investigation was inconclusive and no charges were ever filed. A decade later, more sexual abuse allegations surfaced. Primarily because of Jackson's documented sleeping arrangements with his young fans. Jackson was arrested in 2003 and charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to a child. Jackson denied the allegations and in 2005, he was acquitted on all counts.

Sadly, even after his death, Jackson still couldn't escape controversy. Dr. Conrad Murray was put on trial for the involuntary manslaughter of the singer. The trial would become one of the most high-profile cases of the century, and a jury eventually found Conrad Murray guilty. As soon as the verdict was read, the crowd outside the courthouse cheered in victory. Jackson's sister, La Toya Jackson, said: "Absolutely justice was served." Michael's mother, Katherine, said: "I feel better now."