Conrad Murray’s trial for the involuntary manslaughter of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson has caused a media sensation with newspapers and TV channels giving it blanket coverage.
But it’s not the first time media circus trials have dominated the headlines. Here’s five others which shook the world.
Amanda Knox, 2009
The appeal against her conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher takes place on Saturday, but it was the first trial of Amanda “Foxy Knoxy” Knox which sent newspapers and television networks into a feeding frenzy.
Media interest was sparked by the shear amount of pictures and video which were available via social networks, such as Facebook and YouTube, of Knox.
Soon she was plastered over the front pages of papers from Perugia to Pennsylvania. At her trial in 2007 figures such as Donald Trump even waded in to defend Knox from the media which was blamed for creating tabloid-style coverage.
Papers were even seen to carry out a “character assassination” of Knox and some blogs were even shut down.
People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson, 1995
Perhaps the biggest of them all is the infamous case of OJ Simpson who, even before entering court, was making global rolling news headlines following his pursuit through the streets of LA in his Ford Bronco.
The case has since been described as “the biggest story I have ever seen” by one reporter. Simpson was charged with the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
The Los Angeles Times had the story of the murders on the front page for 300 days and TV networks covered more than the Bosnian War. An estimated 100 million people worldwide watched the verdict.
People V Michael Jackson, 2005
It started with the famous line in an interview with Martin Bashir: “Why can't you share your bed? That's the most loving thing to do, to share your bed with someone."
Soon after, Michael Jackson was facing charges of molesting 13-year-old cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo.
An estimated 2,200 reporters covered the trial in the summer of 2005 and Sky television broadcast a re-enactment each night because cameras were not allowed in the court.
Each day he arrived (often late) a dramatic new story or image hit the headlines, such as a sick looking Jackson turning up to court in his pyjamas and slippers.
Louise Woodward, 1997
The British teenage au pair was at the centre of a media storm in 1997 after being convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen while he was in her care. Her case has been dubbed the "most notorious criminal convicted in Massachusetts".
Woodward, 19, was seen to suffer from a trial by media and her defence even tried to have the case moved because of the intensity of the coverage. A lasting image of the case is the lawyer
Saddam Hussein, 2006
The trial of Iraq’s notorious dictator was always going to cause a sensation and Saddam’s confidence in court added to the drama. “This is all theater. The real criminal is Bush", he stated in near perfect headline terms.
Once again, despite the language barrier and poor sound quality, TV networks cleared their schedules to screen and replay time after time the key moments from the trial.
Why? Because everyone wanted a rare look at one of the world’s most famous dictators. The moment he was sentenced to death has been played on various YouTube links millions of times.
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