Nick Ut  /  AP
Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse Friday morning, Jan. 16, 2004, for his arraignment on child molestation charges.
updated 1/16/2004 7:29:56 PM ET 2004-01-17T00:29:56

It was a scene like no other I have ever seen in a courtroom, not only because of the proceeding itself—that was as dry and mundane as many legal hearings-- but because of the people who came to watch.

About 60 seats were occupied by the public, but the people were not just there to support Michael Jackson. They were true fanatics. Beyond the Jackson t-shirts and buttons they wore, they felt blessed to be in the same courtroom as the King of Pop.

When he entered the courtroom, a burst of applause and gasps could be heard, as Jackson waved to the mostly young women, some who even came from as far away as Japan and Europe. They were forced to stay in their seats, as their idol walked down what felt more like a press line at a premiere, than a courtroom pew. Some of them were in tears, many holding each other’s hands to contain their excitement. To them, this was a unique opportunity to get close to Michael Jackson.

That’s what made this different. Even at the OJ Simpson case, almost everyone who came to court was interested, some even obsessed with the proceedings. Here, they were just obsessed with Jackson.

For those who had lost sight of the fact that this was a courtroom, the judge quickly provided a stark reminder. He chastized Jackson for arriving late and made it clear that this was his courtroom.

But apparently, that warning did not have the sort of impact the judge would have hoped. With only minutes remaining in the hearing, Jackson insisted on getting up to go to the bathroom. The courtroom suddenly fell into disarray. Family members, fans, lawyers, and members of the media all followed him out, making it impossible to hear the procedural arguments from the lawyers.

Yes, Michael Jackson may have learned that this judge is in control of his courtroom.  But maybe, this judge has learned that Michael Jackson is no ordinary defendant.

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