Yes, by the time you get this, I will be back on a plane — no joke. I am headed back to the East Coast from Santa Maria (search), California. We got up at 4 a.m. PT and caught the 6 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles and then on to Washington, D.C.
We arrived in Santa Maria on Thursday just as the announcement that a verdict was reached in the Michael Jackson (search) trial. To put it gently, all hell broke loose. I had intended to change into a suit for the show and never got out of my traveling clothes until after the show when I got to my hotel room. Upon arrival in Santa Maria, I went immediately to the line to get into the courthouse so that I would be there for the verdict. The day was so crazy that I did not eat until about 7 p.m. ET — I slept through the meal service on the plane so I was riding on empty all day. Of course when I did eat, I had the standard meal: pizza delivered to our workspace. When we arrived in Santa Maria we expected to be on verdict watch all week... how wrong we were!
The talk behind the scenes for days was whether Jackson would skip out. Most thought he would but he did not. I bet he is glad he did not! We kept hearing that he had faith in the jury but it still seemed to many that he would leave the country.
As I waited in the penned in area with the media to get into the courtroom, I felt like a pet in a petting zoo. Those of us who were to be in the courtroom were fenced off from everyone else until the time the security decided we could move inside the courthouse. I was calling FOX News to get updates on where Jackson was and yelling them out to the others in the media in the "pen."
Once we got into the courthouse, we saw a very famous family — including Michael and Janet Jackson (Janet could not get a seat for the actual verdict so was outside the courtroom for the announcement.)
By the time our show rolled around, we were still in the state of confusion, which always happens with breaking news. Minutes before the show started, I was told that two Jackson brothers — Jermaine and Tito — were calling into the show. Of course we put them on and I asked them a series of questions. Because they surprised us, we had to scramble to figure out how to include all the other guests since we only have one hour. I am curious how the show looked to you since to me it was a constant surprise!
Last night we were so busy getting ready for the show that we missed the action. Apparently outside the courthouse and not too far from our live site, two networks' bookers — which and who will remain unnamed — got into a pushing battle over a guest/juror. I was told the police had to be called. No one was arrested but it added to the excitement and tension in the post-verdict hours. It gets very aggressive post-verdict on big trials.
On Tuesday's blog we have streamed video from our first segment from Monday night's show since it gives you an idea of the chaos at the courthouse. I hope you check out the video by visiting www.gretawire.com.
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