Michael Jackson fans stay faithful at trial

Sun Oct 2, 2011 3:20pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Their faith has been tested many times, but Michael Jackson's fans have always supported the "Thriller" singer. That remains true at the trial of his former doctor who is accused in the superstar's death.

Outside the Los Angeles courthouse where Dr. Conrad Murray faces a manslaughter charge, the fans do not number as many as they did at the singer's 2005 child molestation trial. But his supporters are just as colorful and no less passionate.

Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity," told Reuters Jackson had a unique relationship with his fans.

"He constantly talked about them, whereas now a lot of celebrities have taken the lazy man's approach to staying in touch with fans through Twitter and Facebook," Lawrence said.

More than two dozen people, including European tourists, celebrity impersonators and women with sunflowers, Jackson's favorite, showed up last week for the start of Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in the pop star's 2009 drug overdose death.

A handful earned seats in the courtroom, where they watched in silence and, when the second week gets underway on Monday, there is little doubt they will be there again.

Jackson's personal assistant, Michael Williams, testified last week that when Jackson was rehearsing in Los Angeles for the "This Is It" tour, his admirers would camp out just beyond the driveway to his rented mansion.

Fans would cheer Jackson as his Cadillac Escalade pulled into the arena where he rehearsed. They would be there when he left at night and would race back to his home to see him again. Often, the singer stopped to greet them, sign autographs and collect gifts or letters they brought, Williams said.   Continued...