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Film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was acquitted after three trials in the rape and murder of a young actress in 1921

Michael Jackson was found innocent of all charges Monday by a jury of his peers. Wow. It would scare the living daylights out of me to think that Mikey was really judged by a jury of his peers. Just imagining he has peers gives me the willies. In different ages in our history, Jackson would have been a)burned at the stake b)put in a circus freak show, or c) put in a circus freak show where he would be burned at the stake.

But he is free of all charges. Go and sin no more child. And remember to keep little boys out of your bed.

Another “trial of the century” goes into the books. The first real entertainment celebrity trial was that of film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. He was accused of raping and murdering a young actress during a debauchery-fest in San Francisco in 1921. Arbuckle was the biggest movie star at the time. That combined with the details of the alleged crime being particularly hideous fed quite a buzz among newspapers of the day. Sensationalist newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst allegedly stirred the pot, making Arbuckle’s trials particularly juicy for consumption by readers. Hung juries ended the first two trials against Arbuckle and he walked on the third. But he never regained his stature in film again and died at age 45.

Many of us have already witnessed supposed “trials of the century” during recent times. O.J., of course, springs to mind. One has to wonder if 24-hour news cycles were around, would other trials have been hyped as the biggest ever? Take Jack Ruby’s trial, for instance. He was the only figure ever tried that had any connection with the Kennedy assassination. God, he allegedly killed a presidential assassin, who killed a Kennedy no less. Can you just imagine what a sensation that would bring these days?

By the way, do you remember what happened in the Ruby case? Well, Jack was found guilty and sentenced to death. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his verdict, saying that he had not been able to obtain a fair trial because of the excessive publicity that surrounded his case. Ruby died while awaiting a new trial.

If you ask many Americans, I doubt that they would have been able to tell you what happened to Ruby. I had to brush up on that bit of history myself. It makes you wonder if everyone will remember the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial or the Michael Jackson trial 40 years from now? I doubt it.

Meanwhile, I wonder what celeb is next up on the docket?

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