Once the dramatic moment passed when the jury announced that Michael Jackson was not guilty of the charges against him, the curious — I among them — have been waiting to see what clues he and his would be give as to his future.
What tone would MJ take on this, the first day of the rest of his life? to quote a phrase from the era when he stood astride the world of entertainment. We now have a couple of clues, one semi-positive, one appalling.
First the positive, downgraded to a notch because the words came from Jackson's attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., rather than from Jackson himself: On NBC's Today Show this morning Mesereau stated that Jackson will not sleep with boys anymore. "He's not going to do that anymore because of the false charges that were brought here. He's not going to make himself vulnerable to this anymore."
In a follow-up interview with AP, Mesereau added he is convinced Jackson "has never molested any child," and he he believes that Jackson will continue to be "a convenient target for people who want to extract money or build careers at his expense." As a result, the attorney said, Jackson will have to change his lifestyle and "not easily allow people to enter his life."
That's a reassuring (if totally Jacko-centric) statement, but would have been better coming directly from the subject himself. If Jackson wants to begin resurrecting his image, if he has any hopes of rebuilding a career in the United States, he has to accept responsibility for — at minimum — stupendously poor judgment and state that he has learned from his mistakes and will not repeat them.
Jury foreman Paul Rodriguez agrees that changes in behavior are critical. "We would hope first of all that he doesn't sleep with children anymore and that he learns that they have to stay with their families or stay in the guest rooms or the houses or whatever they're called down there. And he just has to be careful how he conducts himself around children."