Stephen Osman - Pool  /  Reuters
Entertainer Michael Jackson prepares to speak to reporters after his arraignment on a grand jury indictment dealing with allegations of child molestation at the courthouse in Santa Maria, California April 30, 2004.
updated 5/4/2004 11:01:45 AM ET 2004-05-04T15:01:45

It seems Michael Jackson and even his fans have gotten the message that the courtroom is not a concert venue, not a celebrity meet-and-greet and not a place for shenanigans.

At his last court appearance, Jackson’s fans screamed and cried as he strolled into the courtroom 20 minutes late as if it were a red carpet premiere. They clapped each time a family member arrived to take a seat inside and, of course, Jackson did his victory dance on the car.

This time, no screams, no cries and no dance. Jackson was 45 minutes early and even his young fans seemed to be taking this appearance more seriously.

Now there were still hard-core fans. When Randy Jackson arrived and I identified him to a colleague with an unsure voice, the young Brit behind me assured me it was him and asked me if I wanted to know Randy’s birth date.

But even though I would say the average age of the fans in the courtroom was about 21, they were still respectful and quiet.

Don’t get me wrong. It was still a surreal scene: Helicopters were swirling, and fans were screaming outside the courthouse. But it was far more controlled, and Jackson didn’t feed the beast.

More important, inside the courtroom it felt like, well, just a courtroom, the way it should be.

Dan Abrams is the host of 'The Abrams Report.' The show airs weeknights, 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.


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