Stacia Crawford (African Accents co-owner): “Well, I will say I do think Michael Jackson will be acquitted because I have been following the trial quite a bit, and I don’t think the prosecutor has delivered a slam-dunk. I think in terms of the defense the best thing they have going for them, they’ve had all these witnesses coming in saying that the accusers’ family are gold-diggers, which apparently is true. But everybody seems to be looking at that. I do believe he’ll be acquitted. I don’t know if he’s a child molester, but I do hope that after going through this trial and all the things he has gone through, he will change his behaviors, and he will change how he does things.”

2) Rose Marie Seaton: “He probably will, but I have mixed emotions. To know that something is wrong and continue to do it, causes problems for you, he seems to have put himself in a odd position. But then I also look back at Michael Jackson when I was coming up, knowing his childhood, how he didn’t have one. How a lot of things he’s going through is because of the lack of a childhood. We don’t really know what his background was like. I hope this is a lesson for him. This is the second time around, and he didn’t learn. But I would hope this would truly be a lesson if he should be acquitted and stay away from children. There are certain things you do and certain things you don’t do, and sleeping with children isn’t right. So I hope he learns a lesson if he is acquitted. If not, he has to deal with the consequences.”

4) Rickey Sanders (Rick’s Devine Catering): “I think that Michael Jackson will be acquitted and say that based on some of the testimony of the young people that the parents have jogged their testimony and told them what to say. The things Michael has done as far as sleeping with children, it can be questionable, but I don’t want to say he’s done something because he’s done that, but I’m looking at all of the factors. From what I’m seeing, he might be getting off because of the bad testimony of what the people have said. Here’s a celebrity who has money, has millions of dollars, so there are going to be people that may have truth and there might be some in error.

“My guess is he’ll get off and hopefully he can change some of his
habits with children. I just think he
probably has some little issues there
mentally. Whatever hapened to him in
his past, his family, lifestyles, things he grew up with play a role in his life as well. Some say he didn’t get
a chance to be a child, so I’m
just hoping Mike can change and
get some mental help if nothing else.”


3) Lewis Powell (attorney): “I’m going to give you a lawyer’s response: It depends. There are a lot of factors, and I believe it is a jury trial, so that is going to come [down to] the plain terms of who really gave the best presentation in terms of the defense team as well as the prosecution. Now, it’s going to be a close call because I think the defense team did the best thing by not having Michael Jackson testify because if he had testified, he could have hurt himself. I think what he has in his favor is that obviously the defense was able to get out that this is not the first time this family tried to get money out of celebrities. Jay Leno testified
and even though he was cracking jokes, his testimony was kind of critical in my mind because he got out that, hey, he didn’t trust the kid, as well as his family.

“With all jokes aside, it’s going to be a very, very tough call. I think the defense, based on what they had to do, they did the best they could with the circumstances, and that is try to discredit the young man and his family. Michael’s behavior, shall we say, can be a little bit questionable, but I think it goes to the benefit of a doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the key in a
criminal trial. It’s not a civil trial?”it’s really going beyond a reasonable doubt. Did he do anything improper with those youngsters? I don’t think from what I’ve seen and heard, I’m not quite sure that the prosecution has met its burden in terms of a reasonable doubt. So on the basis of that, I would say his chances
are better then 50-50.”

Streetbeat Tidbits:

? Congratulations to KIPP Ascend Charter School’s principal, Jim O’Connor, and his wife on the birth of their baby daughter Fiona Meagher O’Connor. She was born at 9:04 a.m. on May 25.

? We send our deepest condolences to James Deanes, community relations officer for the Chicago Public Schools on the recent loss of his mother.

? Deepest condolences to famed artist Al Jarreau, who lost his oldest brother, Emile, on May 21, in Milwaukee.

? Chicago mourns the passing of reknowned artist, songwriter, playwright and activist Oscar Brown Jr. Mr. Brown passed away Sunday, May 29. He was 78 years old. He is survived by his wife, Jean Pace Brown, one son, daughters and grandchildren. Services are pending.