At the trial the star faced allegations that he abused 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo at his Neverland ranch in California – named after the fictional world in the story Peter Pan. The ranch had its own amusement park rides and a zoo.
In court Jackson was branded a serial child molester who used Neverland to lure children to a predator’s lair filled with alcohol and pornography.
Jackson was said to have molested Gavin whose younger brother, Star, claimed he had twice witnessed the star fondle Gavin as he slept.
The trial at Santa Maria court in California lasted 16 weeks, attracted massive media interest and took its toll on Jackson, who looked gaunt and emotionally drained by the end.
The jurors said when they studied the timeline that the brother’s story did not add up and Jackson was cleared on all 10 counts.
They revealed they had not ruled out that Jackson had abused boys in the past but said there was not enough evidence relating to Arvizo’s case.
The investigation had been triggered by a British documentary presented by journalist Martin Bashir in which Jackson admitted and staunchly defended sharing his bed with young boys.
In the documentary Jackson said he sometimes slept on the floor while giving the children his bed, which he said was a “beautiful thing”, “charming” and “sweet”.
“Why can’t you share your bed? That’s the most loving thing to do, to share your bed with someone,” he said in the documentary.
At his trial, his defence team insisted he was the victim of a con attempt.
It was not the first time that Jackson had faced child abuse allegations.
Twelve years earlier, in 1993, another young boy Jordy Chandler had filed a civil suit against Jackson.
However, Chandler received an alleged £10.6 million (€12.4m) settlement and criminal prosecutions were subsequently abandoned when the boy, then aged 12, refused to testify.