The case against Mubarak, his sons, and top aides was very limited in scope, focusing only on the uprising's first few days and two narrow corruption cases. It was never going to provide a full accountability of wrongdoing under Mubarak's three decades of authoritarian rule enforced by a brutal police force and a coterie of businessmen linked to the regime who amassed wealth while nearly half of Egypt's estimated 85 million people lived in poverty.
Mubarak, 84, and his former security chief, Habib el-Adly, were convicted of complicity in the killings of 900 protesters and received life sentences. Six top police commanders were acquitted of the same charge, with chief Judge Ahmed Rifaat saying there was a lack of concrete evidence.
That absolved the only other representatives of Mubarak's hated security forces aside from Adly. It was a stark reminder that though the head has been removed, the body of the reviled security apparatus is largely untouched by genuine reform or purges since Mubarak was ousted 15 months ago.
Many of the senior security officials in charge during the uprising and the Mubarak regime continue to go to work every day at their old jobs.
In many ways, the old system remains in place and the clearest example of that is a key regime figure - Mubarak's longtime friend and last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq - is one of two candidates going to the presidential runoff set for June 16-17.
The generals who took over from Mubarak have not shown a will for vigorously prosecuting the old regime. That is something that neither Shafiq nor challenger Mohammed Morsi may have the political will or the muscle to change when one is elected president.
Shafiq last week declared himself an admirer of the uprising, calling it a "religious revolution" and pledged there would be no turning of the clock while he is at the helm. On Saturday, he said the verdict showed that no on was above the law in today's Egypt.
Morsi of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood quickly tried to capitalize on the anger over the acquittals, vowing in a news conference that, if elected, he would retry Mubarak along with former regime officials suspected of involvement in killing protesters.
"Egypt and its revolutionary sons will continue their revolution. This revolution will not stop," he said.
The case against Mubarak, his sons, ex-security chief, and six of his top aides was very limited in scope, focusing only on the uprising's first few days and two narrow corruption cases. It was never going to provide a full accountability of wrongdoing under Mubarak's three-decades of authoritarian rule enforced by a brutal police force and a coterie of businessmen linked to the regime who amassed wealth while nearly half of Egypt's estimated 85 millions lived in poverty.
Mubarak and his two sons were acquitted of corruption charges, along with family friend Hussein Salem, who is on the run. The corruption charges were related to the purchase by the Mubaraks of five villas built by Salem at a fraction of their price and Mubarak's decree to allow a Salem company to export natural gas to Israel. Rifaat cited a 10-year statute of limitations that had lapsed on the case of the villas.
The sons - one-time heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa - will not be freed because they are awaiting trial on charges of insider trading. They have been held in custody in Torah prison, the same jail where Mubarak was flown after the sentencing.
The charges related to killing protesters carried a possible death sentence that the judge chose not to impose, opting instead to send Mubarak to prison for the rest of his life.
After the sentencing, Mubarak suffered a "health crisis" on a helicopter flight to a Cairo prison hospital, according to security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. One state media report said it was a heart attack, but that could not immediately be confirmed.
Earlier, a bedridden Mubarak sat stone-faced and frowning in the courtroom's metal defendants' cage while Rifaat read out the conviction and sentence against him, showing no emotion with his eyes concealed by dark sunglasses. His sons Gamal and Alaa looked nervous but also did not react.
Rifaat opened the session with an indictment of Mubarak's regime that expressed deep sympathy for the uprising 15 months ago.
The question of who ordered the killings of protesters was left unanswered.