Top 5 of 2002: People Behaving Badly

Whether they're mysterious, mean, misunderstood or just mischievous, their behavior made people take notice.

5. Michael Jackson

The last decade of Michael Jackson's public life may serve as proof that achieving super-star status often comes with consequences. Dubbed "Wacko Jacko," the pop star was embroiled in controversy last month after he dangled his infant son over the edge of a hotel balcony.

"I made a terrible mistake. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children," he said.

The next day, Jackson visited a zoo with his two older children, their faces curiously shrouded behind veils.

The sight hasn't helped to dispel questions about his parenting skills, and once-persistent allegations of child sexual abuse only add suspicion to the enigma that has become Michael Jackson.

4. James Traficant

James Traficant — the Ohio congressman who was convicted of bribery, racketeering and corruption — was expelled from Congress by a vote of 420 to 1.

The only vote in Traficant's favor came from departing California Democratic Rep. Gary Condit, who himself faced public scrutiny following the disappearance of former Washington intern Chandra Levy.

Recognized during his expulsion hearing by his unruly toupee, Traficant often dismissed the seriousness of his circumstances.

"I'm a son of a truck driver," Traficant said. "Forget this Congress business, I'm a regular guy."

About his incarceration: "I will take with me a file, a chisel, a knife, I will try and get some major explosives, try to fight my way out."

The 61-year-old will have eight long years in federal prison to plan his escape.

3. Corporate Bad Guys

During a Congressional hearing, WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers had a difficult time trying to remember what happened to $9 billion in profits that disappeared during his tenure as CEO.

Enron's Jeffrey Skilling couldn't recall what led to his company's multi-million dollar losses and subsequent downfall.

Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski seemed to forget to pay more than $1 million in taxes on valuable artwork.

While such moments of forgetfulness might have been overlooked during the economic boom, they certainly weren't during the bust.

2. Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein began his political career in 1958 by assassinating a political rival — not a humble beginning for a man the Bush administration considers the leader of a nation in the "Axis of Evil."

Hussein, the president and dictator of Iraq, has been entangled in a 10-year standoff with the United States. He stands accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction and serving as a financier for terrorism.

1. Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is one of 52 children fathered by a Saudi Arabian construction mogul, yet in the eyes of the American government he is No. 1 among most-wanted terrorists.

Bin Laden, a radical Islamic Fundamentalist, considers the United States and Israel his primary enemies.

As the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist group, he has been linked to dozens of attacks, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

ABCNEWS' Geoffrey Bennett and Alan Strauss in New York contributed to this report.

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