About 100 die-hard Michael Jackson fans who held vigil outside his Neverland ranch compound throughout his 14-week criminal trial were among more than 500 who attended a hastily planned victory bash Friday at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez.
The party, which featured entertainment by Jackson's guitarist brother Tito, was also attended by Jackson's sister Janet; his mother, Katherine; and one of the jurors who acquitted the performer of child molestation charges, Pauline Coccoz.
Jackson did not appear.
"From the bottom of my heart I thank you all," Katherine Jackson told the crowd.
"We couldn't have done it without you," she added.
Fans responded by chanting "Innocent. Innocent. Innocent."
Coccoz said she felt very emotional when she entered the casino and heard Jackson's music playing. "They were playing 'Beat It,' and I almost started to cry," she told an Associated Press reporter.
Other guests included defense attorney Robert Sanger and Majestic Magnificent, a magician friend of Jackson's.
Fans' invitations came in the form of paper admission bracelets parceled out by an unnamed fan.
"If you're not a fan, then you might as well get out of here, because you ain't getting one," the man said as he distributed the yellow bracelets outside the front gates of Neverland.