SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Michael Jackson's (search) fans, some of his family, one of his lawyers and at least one of his jurors gathered at a casino near his home Friday night for what was billed as a celebration of thanks.
Among the crowd that arrived at the Chumash Indian Casino (search) was Pauline Coccoz, a member of the jury that acquitted Jackson of child molestation charges. She called her jury service "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."
When she walked into the casino and heard Jackson's music playing, Coccoz said, the enormity of what had transpired hit her.
"They were playing 'Beat It,' and I almost started to cry," she said as she waited to enter the showroom.
Jackson, who has not appeared in public since being acquitted Monday, was nowhere in sight.
Jackson's mother, Katherine, and one of his sisters, Janet, managed to avoid reporters as they entered the showroom. The crowd erupted in cheers as they arrived to the sounds of the song "I'll Be There."
Others spotted arriving for the show headlined by Jackson's brother Tito included defense attorney Robert Sanger (search) and Jackson's magician friend, who calls himself Majestic Magnificent.
Reporters were kept out of the showroom, and an Associated Press reporter who got inside briefly was escorted out by tribal police. Casino officials said they had orders from the Jackson family to keep all journalists out.
About 400 hundred people were in attendance when Tito Jackson (search) and his band took the stage. Jackson's brother has been performing periodically at the casino, and he was scheduled to appear Friday night before it was decided to turn the show into what one of his band members called a celebration of thanks.
Tito Jackson said he planned to perform a mixture of blues and some Michael Jackson songs, adding that Michael Jackson impersonators would join him in performing his brother's songs.
Wristbands that were handed out earlier in the day were needed for admission to the showroom. Coccoz said that when someone gave her wristbands she decided to bring her family, partly as a public display of her confidence in the jury's verdict.