He had arrived, hand in hand with his mother, to an intense media presence and hundreds of Michael Jackson fans chanting 'Justice for Michael'.
For Conrad Murray – the medic accused of causing the pop star's death – it was apparently all too much.
He shed tears at the start of his trial in Los Angeles, having denied involuntary manslaughter.
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Prosecutors argue that he was an incompetent physician who used a dangerous anaesthetic without adequate safeguards.
Lawyers told jurors that Dr Murray abandoned the 50-year-old superstar as he lay dying after administering a drug dose, including propofol.
Lead prosecutor David Walgren said the doctor left to go to the bathroom and check his mobile phone.
"(The doctor) left him there, abandoned him to fend for himself," Mr Walgren said.
He is also accused of failing to alert emergency services for 20 minutes after finding his famous patient unconscious.
Nor did Dr Murray mention to paramedics that he'd administered propofol, the court heard.
During the televised proceedings, the jury also listened to a recording of Michael's voice – apparently made in May 2009 by Dr Murray on his phone.
Sounding slurred and apparently heavily drugged, the Thriller artist talks about his planned comeback concerts.
The singer says: "We have to be phenomenal. When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life.
"'Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world'."
Mr Walgren said the audio was evidence that Dr Murray must have realised the debilitating impact of the hospital anaesthetic Michael was taking for his insomnia and should have stopped ordering it.
The court heard that in the months before the star's death on June 25, 2009, the doctor ordered more than four gallons of propofol, which is normally used to put people under for surgery.
He told a pharmacist in Las Vegas that it was for a large client base.
The tape was played after prosecutors showed a photo of Michael lying dead on a hospital trolley, as a worldwide audience watched on TV.
From the eight seats set aside for them, the king of pop's family also heard the harrowing evidence.
If convicted, the 58-year-old faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical licence.
His defence team argues that Michael administered the lethal dose himself.