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Top 10 People Guilty in the Court of Public Opinion

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Zack Tobin. Lance Armstrong. Amanda Knox. Casey Anthony. None of these people were found guilty in a court of law, but all of them are guilty in the court of public opinion. In some cases, these celebrity scandals have ruined reputations; in others, the celebrities accused of crimes have remained just as famous. WatchMojo takes a look at ten people guilty in the court of public opinion – it’s up to you to decide if they’re innocent. Special thanks to our user akt for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20People%20Found%20Guilty%20in%20Court%20of%20Public%20Opinion

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Script written by Zack Tobin.

Top 10 Celebrities Guilty in the Court of Public Opinion

They may not have done the time, but everyone sure thinks they did the crime. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 People who are Guilty in the Court of Public Opinion.

For this list, we’ll be looking at people who were accused of a crime and were never convicted of said crime, but lost the respect of the general public regardless. So, if they were actually found guilty of the specific crime, but avoided jail like Roman Polanski, they don’t count.

#10: R. Kelly

In the early ‘90s, everybody was grooving to the sounds of recording artist R. Kelly. Hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump N’ Grind” made him a megastar. He was also successful as a producer and songwriter – but his standing soon plummeted. First, it was the news that he and protégé Aaliyah were illegally married when she was 15. However, the real public outrage came in 2002, when videotapes surfaced allegedly showing R. Kelly engaged in sex with and urinating on an underage girl. He was charged with various counts of child pornography, but at the trial the jury came back with a not guilty verdict. Even so, his reputation was forever tarnished.

#9: Woody Allen

The neurotic Hollywood star managed to shock us all when it was revealed that he was having an affair with his girlfriend Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. At the time the affair came out, Allen was in his 50s and Previn was still in college. This led many to speculate that their relationship really began when Previn was underage. Not helping Woody Allen’s case is the fact that Dylan, his adopted daughter with Mia Farrow, accused him of molesting her. The charges against Allen were dropped, as the police didn’t find any conclusive evidence. Still, the fact that he still married someone who was almost his stepdaughter was enough for plenty of people to label him a creep.

#8: Hillary Clinton

Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton found herself embroiled in a scandal about her emails while serving as Secretary of State. Clinton was accused of using her personal email server for business communications, instead of the secured, official State Department server. Thousands of these emails were considered “classified,” which violated State Department protocol. Congress was not happy and her detractors pounced on the chance to get her indicted. While the FBI determined it was just an extremely careless mistake, her favorability rating still declined. And, unfortunately for the longtime politician, this issue certainly played a part in her race for the White House against Donald Trump in 2016.

#7: Michael Jackson

The world first saw Michael Jackson as the adorable lead singer of The Jackson 5. Then, with “Thriller,” he became the undisputed King of Pop. However, towards the end of his life, many started to see him as a weirdo. His popularity decreased when he was accused of child molestation on two separate occasions: once in 1993, and again in 2003. While neither accusation led to a conviction, they were enough to raise eyebrows, as Jackson openly admitted to inviting young boys over for sleepovers. Many still defend the pop star’s innocence, especially after his death in 2009, but the public never saw him the same way again.

#6: George W. Bush

The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush makes our list mostly due to the outrage and suspicion generated by his decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The American public was led to believe that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government were in possession of weapons of mass destruction. However critics accused Bush and his administration of knowingly misleading the public about the WMDs to gain support for a war that no one wanted, which cost the lives of many Americans and Iraqis. Bush was also criticized for how he handled Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession. By the time W. left office, his presidential approval rating was at a historically low 22%.

#5: Patsy & John Ramsey

The murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey on Christmas Day in 1996 became an instant American obsession. JonBenét was reported missing and found dead eight hours later by her father, in the basement of their home. Instantly, the public suspected that the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were involved. Media attention focused on JonBenét’s participation in beauty pageants and featured the child wearing gowns and extravagant makeup, for which the parents were heavily criticized. A strange ransom letter found in the home fuelled more speculation, although the District Attorney of Boulder, Colorado never indicted the Ramseys. In fact, in 2008 they were cleared, but by that point, Patsy had died, and John’s reputation was ruined.

#4: Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony quickly became the most hated woman in America when she was arrested in 2008 the murder of her two-year old daughter, Caylee. Her trial appeared to be a slam-dunk case, with a plethora of evidence against Anthony, such as the fact that she didn’t report her daughter’s disappearance until a month after she went missing. Yet to the shock and dismay of the majority of Americans, the jury found her not guilty. However, while Anthony is not behind bars, she is hardly a free woman. She now lives a life of isolation with no contact from any family or old friends, afraid of the public’s absolute hatred of her.

#3: George Zimmerman

In 2012, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17 year-old African-American Trayvon Martin. Police took Zimmerman into custody, then released him because they couldn’t refute that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, since he had some head wounds. The public cry for justice was loud. How could the neighborhood watch shoot an unarmed kid who was a guest in the neighborhood? The pressure to charge Zimmerman was so great that weeks after the incident, he was charged with murder. Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which states that you can use reasonable force against a real or perceived threat, was his defense. It worked. He was acquitted of the murder charges, but not in the court of public opinion.

#2: Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, successful comedian and America’s favorite TV dad, saw his squeaky clean image destroyed when stories that had been quietly circulating finally exploded all over the news. All it took to go viral was a video of comedian Hannibal Buress talking about rape allegations against Cosby during his show. Women started to come forward with horrible allegations of sexual abuse, with over 50 women accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct, often involving the administration of drugs. Many had filed complaints, but were ignored because he was so powerful; but this time, they just couldn’t be overlooked. Though the statute of limitations had expired in most of the cases, the women were finally heard– and now, Bill Cosby’s is considered one of Hollywood’s biggest falls from grace.

Before we get to our top pick here are a few honorable– or in this case, dishonorable mentions.
- Jian Ghomeshi
- Amanda Knox

#1: O. J. Simpson

Heisman Trophy winner, Pro Football Hall of Famer, movie star, and defendant in the trial of the century! Such is the story of O.J. Simpson. In 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered at her home. From the start, all evidence pointed towards Simpson as the culprit. The trial that followed became an American obsession; every lawyer and witness became an instant celebrity. To the shock of much of America, the jury found Simpson not guilty. Karma caught up with Simpson, however, as he was subsequently found guilty in a wrongful death civil suit that put him on the hook for 33 million dollars, and years later he was sent to jail for armed robbery. While some members of the public may not be satisfied, at least they can say that O.J. Simpson is currently serving 33 years in prison.

Do you agree with our list? Who do you think is the most guilty in court of public opinion? For more controversial Top 10s be sure to visit

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