Unforgettable Celebrity Trials
Rep. Charlie Rangel's walkout in the middle of his House ethics hearing this week was just the latest in a long line of memorable moments during celebrity trials.
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Before the untimely death of Michael Jackson, we had become trained to expect (and, in some cases, demand) a high level of eccentricity from the King of Pop. But during his 2005 child-molestation trial, Jackson took the crazy to the next level, showing up to court one day 40 minutes late and in his pajamas. On another day, he danced atop an SUV for his adoring fans outside the courtroom. Those Jacksons …
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Foxy Brown has been in and out of court more times than we can count (she's currently awaiting trial for mooning her neighbor; yes), and her appearances are often marked by utter ridiculousness. In 2005 she was held in contempt for sticking her tongue out at the judge. But her most special moment was later that same year when the judge postponed her trial (she was charged with throwing her BlackBerry at the same neighbor) because Brown had gone temporarily deaf.
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During the contentious 2006 divorce trial of former NFL star Michael Strahan and his wife, Jean, she made this statement about Strahan's relationship with media personality Dr. Ian: "Michael moved into Ian's one-bedroom apartment. And you can say an alternative lifestyle sprouted." The media exploded with rumors about Strahan's sexuality, but Jean would later backtrack.
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Wesley Snipes' lawyers did their client no favors during the actor's 2006 tax evasion trial in Ocala, Fla., when they claimed that Snipes could not get a fair trial because the area was a "hotbed of Klan activity." Not only were Ocala residents highly offended, but Snipes was later sentenced to three years in prison. Did the Klan force him not to pay taxes?
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Lindsay Lohan might have courted some sympathy when she burst into tears earlier this year after being sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating probation, but any goodwill she inspired soon went out the window when a blown-up courtroom photo revealed that she had written "f--- U" on her fingernail.
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Naomi Campbell tried her hardest to avoid having to testify at former Liberian President Charles Taylor's war-crimes trial at the Hague (to be fair, that's no one's idea of a good time), but to no avail. When she finally showed up to testify as to whether or not she'd received blood diamonds from Taylor in 1999, she announced, "I don't want to be here. I was made to be here."
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Despite the not-guilty verdict in his 1995 double-murder case, O.J. Simpson has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion (even by folks who were on his side 15 years ago). No one has particularly fond memories of the debacle that was his trial, but how could anyone forget attorney Johnnie Cochran's rhyming defense about the glove found at the crime scene: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!"