Katherine Jackson 'fine,' calls court hearing 'bunch of lies'
After days of rumors swirling about Katherine Jackson's whereabouts and well-being, the matriarch of the famous family said she is returning to Los Angeles and is "good and fine."
Jackson made her first public statements to ABC News since family members reported her missing over the weekend.
"There are rumors going around about me that I have been kidnapped," she said. "I am here today to let everybody know that I am good and fine."
Jackson was also critical of Wednesday's court hearing, in which a Los Angeles County judge stripped her of custody of Michael Jackson's three children. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff transferred guardianship temporarily to a cousin after hearing allegations that Katherine Jackson was being "held against her will" at an Arizona spa and had sounded "strange" in the one phone call she made to relatives since leaving L.A. on July 15.
"I've never heard my grandmother talk like that," the cousin, Tito Joe "T.J." Jackson, told the judge about the early morning phone call Wednesday. "She wasn't sharp. Some words seemed a little slurred."
An attorney for Katherine Jackson, Sandra Ribera, told the judge that after staying with Michael Jackson's children this week in the Calabasas home where they live with their grandmother, "I have reason to believe she is being held or has been held against her will."
In naming T.J. Jackson temporary guardian, Beckloff said he was responding to "the intentional acts of third parties" rather than any misconduct by Katherine Jackson. He said that the law required T.J. Jackson, 34 — son of Michael's brother Tito — to file paperwork seeking permanent custody but that Katherine Jackson could be reinstated if she returned.
But Katherine Jackson said that ruling was "based on a bunch of lies."
She described the trip as a short vacation, adding: "My children would never do anything to me like that."
That finding didn't dissuade 14-year-old Paris Jackson from taking to Twitter to declare her grandmother missing.
"9 days and counting," she wrote. "So help me god i will make whoever did this pay."
Then on Monday, deputies were called to break up a fight at the Calabasas residence between family members, and a video shot from inside the home subsequently surfaced online showing Janet Jackson swiping at a cellphone held by Paris.
The backdrop for the discord appears to be a widening family rift over who should control Michael Jackson's legacy and assets.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan