Katherine Jackson reinstated as guardian of grandchildren
Judge Mitchell Beckloff said a cousin of the children, Tito Joe T.J. Jackson, who he tapped as a temporary guardian last week, would stay on and eventually share full guardianship with Katherine Jackson.
The judge said he was concerned by accusations aired in court last week regarding the alleged kidnapping of Katherine Jackson, but that a probate court investigator's report reassured him of the wellbeing of Prince, 15; Paris, 14; and Blanket, 10.
"It's clear to me that the children are well cared for by Mrs. Jackson. It is clear to me they love her very much," Beckloff said at a hearing. He added that interviews conducted by the investigator with the children and the family matriarch, 82, indicated the trio have "a substantial, significant" relationship with T.J. Jackson and that his background -- he is the son of the Jackson Five's Tito -- allow the children to relate to him.
A lawyer who represents the children, Margaret Lodise, said that Diana Ross, named as a back-up guardian by Jackson’s will, had visited the children in Calabasas on Wednesday and agreed with the decision to have T.J. and Katherine Jackson share custody.
The family has been embroiled in drama for the last couple of weeks, including allegations that the elderly matriarch had been kidnapped by relatives.
Last week, Beckloff, acting on his own initiative, had instructed a probate court investigator to prepare a report "addressing the status of the minor children" and their grandmother.
The family appears to be attempting to put an end to the public feud. On Wednesday, Jermaine Jackson issued a statement saying he wanted to offer an "olive branch" and begin healing in the family.
"Enough has become enough," he said. "After much soul-searching, it is clearly time for us to live by Michael's words about love not war. In this spirit, I offer this statement by way of extending an olive branch."
-- Harriet Ryan at Los Angeles County Superior Court
Photo: The three children of the late pop icon Michael Jackson -- from left, Prince, Paris and Blanket -- immortalized their father in a hand and footprint casting ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in January. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times