Jackson family feud: Court orders probe of children's care
A Los Angeles judge ordered an investigation Friday into the care of Michael Jackson's children, capping a tumultuous week of family feuding in which some relatives of the late pop star accused others of kidnapping their elderly matriarch.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, acting on his own initiative, instructed a probate court investigator to prepare a report "addressing the status of the minor children" and their grandmother, Katherine Jackson. The judge stripped the 82-year-old of guardianship of the three children Wednesday after hearing allegations that some of her children were holding her against her will in Arizona.
At the time, Beckloff expressed concern, asking lawyers if law enforcement had been notified. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department closed a missing-person investigation days earlier after speaking to Katherine Jackson at a Tucson spa.
In his one-page order, Beckloff ordered investigator Cary Ornelas "to interview the children at their school on an unannounced basis" and deliver a written report directly to him.
"The report shall be provided to the court only and shall not be disseminated to any parties," he wrote.
Katherine Jackson returned to Los Angeles on Thursday and said through an attorney Friday that she planned to ask Beckloff next week to allow her to share guardianship with Tito Joe “T.J.” Jackson, the grandson the judge tapped as temporary guardian in her absence.
Numerous family members, including Michael Jackson's brothers and his children, Paris and Prince, have also used Twitter to advance their positions, turning the drama into a very public fight. The backdrop for the discord appears to be a widening family rift over who should control Michael Jackson's legacy and assets.
In a interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Randy Jackson ratcheted up the rhetoric against executors of the pop star's estate and accused them of exploiting the singer's children and faking the will.
-- Harriet Ryan
Photo: Michael Jackson's children -- Paris, Prince and Blanket -- appear at a ceremony in Hollywood in July. Credit: Michael Nelson / EPA