Rebbie Jackson (L) and Randy Jackson attend the Jackson vs AEG court case at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on April 29, 2013 in Los Angeles
*Just one of Michael Jackson’s brothers and sisters can sit in the courtroom at one time in the family’s wrongful death suit against AEG Live, a judge ordered Tuesday.
AEG Live lawyers argued at the start of the second day of the trial that there was “a risk in allowing any of them in the courtroom.”
AEG expects to call Janet, Jermaine, Jackie, Tito, La Toya, Rebbie and Randy Jackson as witnesses in its defense. Only Jackson brother Marlon is not on the defense witness list.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam said in his opening statement Monday that Jackson family members will testify about their failed attempts to intervene with Michael Jackson’s drug addiction and their lack of knowledge about what was happening.
The defense lawyers asked that Randy Jackson, the only one attending the trial Tuesday with his 82-year-old mother, Katherine Jackson, be booted from court.
After that, Jackson lawyer Brian Panish told the judge that Katherine Jackson, who can stay in court since she is a plaintiff, needed one of her children to sit with her each day.
“He can remain, but you cannot have five in the courtroom,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said.
Randy and Rebbie Jackson attended court Monday, the trial’s opening day. All of the brothers and sisters attended the 2011 criminal trial of Dr. Conrad Murray at various times.
Having members of the famous entertainment family in court could influence the jury, as their seats are just a few feet away from the jury box in the small Los Angeles courtroom.
The first witness called Tuesday was Richard Senneff, one of the Los Angeles County paramedics who responded to the 911 call to Michael Jackson’s home on June 25, 2009.
Senneff mostly repeated the testimony he gave as one of the first witnesses in the Murray trial, describing how he initially “thought perhaps this was a hospice patient.”
“He looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” he said.
“No, no, this just happened,” Murray told him, Senneff said.
Jackson was not breathing and appeared to be dead, he said.
Los Angeles Police Detective Orlando Martinez, who initially investigated Jackson’s death, is scheduled to be the second witness.
Michael Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG Live, the promoter of his planned comeback concerts, saying the company’s executives were liable in his death because they hired, retained and supervised Murray. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and received four years in prison, a sentence he is serving in a Los Angeles County jail.
AEG says Murray was hired and supervised by Jackson, whom they blame for making bad choices because of his drug addiction.
The coroner ruled Jackson died from a fatal combination of the surgical anesthetic propofol and sedatives, which prosecutors said Murray administered in an effort to help Jackson sleep.
*Janet Jackson’s attorney has released a statement on behalf of the singer, her brother Randy and sister Rebbie strongly denying that they are trying to benefit financially from their late brother Michael’s estate, reports the Los Angeles Times.
They accused the executors of trying to divide the family and distract from questions about the legitimacy of Michael Jackson’s will.
“They stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid,” Blair G. Brown, a Washington attorney for Janet Jackson, wrote in the statement released Friday. “What will be gained … is that the executors will be replaced and the estate and the guardianship will be managed in a manner that is in the best interest of the children, which is what Michael wanted.”
Allegations that the siblings were holding their 82-year-old mother against her will in Arizona drew worldwide attention last week and resulted in a new custody arrangement in which the family matriarch shares guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children with Tito’s son, Tito Joe “T.J.” Jackson.
The 2002 will accepted by a probate judge after Jackson’s death three years ago gave music industry veterans John Branca and John McClain control of an estate with an estimated worth of $1 billion. The court-approved compensation plan gives the executors a 10% cut of some earnings.
The siblings have said the will was faked and cited evidence that Michael Jackson was out of town on the day the will indicates he signed the document in Los Angeles.
A spokesman for the estate said Friday evening that the legal window for challenging the will has closed, but that two prior wills also named Branca executor and gave no power to Jackson’s siblings.
In his statement, Brown accused the executors of barring the three siblings from visiting their mother at the Calabasas home where she lives with her grandchildren.
“The effect … not only is to damage fundamental family relationships, it is also to isolate Katherine Jackson from anyone questioning the validity of the will,” Brown wrote.
The executors’ spokesman said Katherine Jackson and T.J. have the final say on who is allowed at the residence.
*Surrounded by some of her children, including Janet, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson, Katherine Jackson made a statement upon returning home from a trip to Arizona that has caused all kinds of drama and turmoil among her famous offspring.
At the center of the confusion are Jackson’s three children, who were placed in the temporary custody of Tito’s son TJ Jackson while Katherine was away, supposedly resting.
In her statement to ABC’s Nightline, she says that she left Michael’s children in safe hands when she went away to rest and claims not to understand why people are saying that they were left with no food to eat. She also claims that somebody else sent the staff away, meaning that there is no cook in the house.
“I don’t know who did that but they don’t have that power and they shouldn’t have done it,” she continued. “And now, the people are saying [the kids] are there with nothing to eat. I am sure they have something to eat but it’s probably not healthy because the cook is not there.”
She insisted that once she had made her statement to ABC, she would be going back home to see the children, though she was aware that they had been temporarily placed in TJ’s care.
“My guardianship has been taken away from me” she confirmed. “I spoke to my grandson TJ and also I spoke to Prince and Paris last night and told him I would be home today and they’re waiting for me to come.”
Tito Jackson has retracted his signature from a letter requesting that the executors of Michael’s will resign. In the letter, some of Michael’s siblings (including Janet Jackson) claimed that the legal firm had forged the signature on Michael’s will.
As the temporary guardian of Michael’s children, TJ will be the recipient of the $86,000 monthly child support payments that Katherine was previously receiving from Michael’s estate.
According to the website, the judge ordered that MJ’s kids must not be removed from California without a court order. The judge added that TJ should file a petition for permanent guardianship, and he must give notice to both Diana Ross and Debbie Rowe.
TJ’s lawyer also told the court about a phone conversation that TJ had with Katherine Jackson yesterday that gave him serious pause.
According to TMZ, TJ said, “I’ve never heard my grandmother talk like that.”TJ added, “She wasn’t sharp. The pauses, choice of vocabulary … she has not used certain phrases like that before.” TJ thought she was talking in code. As TJ addressed the court, he was choking up.
Judge Beckloff ruled this was not a power play by TJ and ordered the Michael Jackson Estate to give TJ the funds necessary to take care of security and anything else that’s needed for the children. Also, the lawyer for MJ’s kids said they all support TJ getting temporary guardianship.
Also, the judge said Katherine was not suspended for wrongdoing, but that she was prevented from doing her guardianship duties by “intentional act from third parties.” According to TMZ, the judge was referring to Katherine’s kids Randy, Jermaine and Janet.
Additionally, Katherine’s lawyer, Sandra Ribera, told the court that she has been to Katherine’s house several times recently and she believes Katherine has been held against her will. TJ’s lawyer Charles Schultz co-signed, saying there was an “incident” at Katherine’s house last night that escalated. He added TJ is unsure Katherine is acting voluntarily.
Katherine’s lawyer, Perry Sanders, tells TMZ, “This is a very tense time when of course we don’t feel Mrs. Jackson should be removed as guardian and we would vigorously oppose that on anything other than an extremely short-term basis, until she returns home.”
TMZ is also reporting that Katherine had high blood pressure before she skipped L.A., and the reported spa visit in Arizona did her good. But TJ doesn’t think it did the kids any good, as things have completely unraveled at her home within the past week.
(L-R) Blanket, Prince and Paris
At the root of the drama is Michael’s will and whether or not his legal team forged the signature on it. Also, last week, reports surfaced that family matriarch Katherine had gone missing, but Jermaine Jackson insisted she was alive, well. Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives closed their missing persons case opened for Katherine when she was found to be with her daughter Rebbie in Arizona.
“Katherine Jackson has been located and she is fine and with family,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “Our missing persons case is closed.” Deputies talked to two family members and were satisfied, he explained.
A lawyer for Katherine Jackson, however, was not satisfied, saying the sheriff’s deputies who tried to talk to her in Arizona Monday were blocked from seeing her.
Janet Jackson (L) and Paris Jackson clash. Janet and her brothers Jermaine and Randy Jackson attempted to convince Michael Jackson’s two oldest children, Paris and Prince, to leave Katherine Jackson’s home with them Monday, but Paris and Prince resisted
As we reported yesterday, TMZ caught footage of a physical confrontation between Jackson’s daughter Paris, her aunt Janet Jackson and uncle Randy Jackson at Katherine’s home. At the root of that incident was Paris’ tweeting about being unable to reach her grandmother for several days. The tweets of their family business didn’t sit well with Janet. This morning, it was reported that Janet actually slapped Paris during their altercation, and Paris slapped her back.
According to TMZ, the incident started when Randy, Jermaine and Janet Jackson followed another vehicle into the Calabasas compound. They were not permitted to enter the property themselves . The car in front was apparently carrying Michael Jackson’s three children.
Once they were inside, Janet, Jermaine and Randy reportedly tried to grab the children and put them in their own SUV in order to take them to Arizona, where Katherine Jackson had been resting. At one point, Janet tried to grab Paris’ mobile phone and called her a “spoiled little bitch.” Paris reportedly said to Janet, “This is our house. Not the Jackson family house. Get the f**k out.”
Meanwhile, cousin Trent Jackson (who works for Katherine) and Randy Jackson had a separate dust up, with Trent allegedly putting Randy in a headlock and punching Jermaine in the mouth.
Back to the issue of Katherine’s whereabouts… Marlon Jackson broke down and walked out of an interview at “The Insider” yesterday during talk of Katherine. He was filming the segment with Jackie and Tito [See below.]. Jermaine continues to insist that the 82-year-old is “fine.” Marlon, however, says they haven’t seen her in over a week.
Marlon told The Insider: ”We’ve been told that our mother is safe. She’s doing well. But we have not spoken with her. We have not talked with her and I don’t know where my mother is.” He then wept on camera as he added angrily, “All I know is she is in Arizona, and whatever doctor is saying I can’t talk to my mother you call me!” before storming off the set in tears.
In another clip, separate to that, Marlon commented “All I know is that there is somebody who made the decision that my mother cannot talk to me and whoever that person is they’re going to answer to me because I’m going to see my mother and I’m going to bring her home.”
His brother Jackie had words too, saying “We would love to talk to her and speak with her. The children haven’t spoken to my mom and whenever my mom goes anywhere she always calls back and talks to the kids, Michael’s kids… At this present time we haven’t spoken to her. It’s been nine or 10 days. We hear that she’s somewhere in Arizona but at this time we haven’t spoken with her.”
Janet, Rebbie, Tito, Randy and Jermaine Jackson are calling for administrators John Branca and John McClain to resign from the estate, claiming they changed his will after his death to gain control of his finances, reports Celebuzz.com.
The Jacksons’ letter states: ”At the time we couldn’t possibly fathom what is so obvious to us now: that the Will, without question, it’s Fake, Flawed and Fraudulent.
”Since the passing of Michael, our beloved brother, you have failed to perform your duties as executors of his estate, but what you have not failed at is taking advantage of a grieving mother, father and a grieving family.
”Our brother told us, in no uncertain terms and without hesitation in the months prior to his death, that he despised both of you and that he did not want either of you to have anything to do with his life or estate for that matter.”
The family members have also called into question the executors’ actions at the time of his death.
”John Branca, when we called you regarding the Will you didn’t want to interrupt your vacation,” the letter continued. “You said you wouldn’t return for four days, at which time you presented to our family an incomplete Will.
”The Will that you presented did not have our brother’s signature on it, nor did it have a signature page attached to it. When asked about the missing signature page, John Branca replied, ‘it was on its way, and you were having just a little problem finding it.’
”Amongst many other inconsistencies in the Will, there is also a conflict around Michael’s location on the day he supposedly signed the Will, July 7, 2002. We have evidence that undoubtedly supports and proves that Michael was absolutely not in Los Angeles, California, on the date of his signature reflected in the Will at-hand.”
The letter goes on to accuse the executors of robbing Michael’s children, Prince Michael Jr, 15, Paris, 14 and Prince Michael II (Blanket) , 10, and his mother, Katherine Jackson, of their rightful inheritances by increasing the percentage of the gross income the executors receive from the estate.
Earlier this month, executors for the estate filed legal documents which show it has generated gross earnings exceeding $475 million as of the end of May, meaning the singer’s debts have almost all been paid off.
Michael died from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009, and his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray is currently serving a jail sentence for the singer’s involuntary manslaughter.