L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

Category: Michael Jackson

Conrad Murray's appeals lawyer says doctor witnessed jail shoving

 Dr. Conrad Murray in court on Nov. 7, 2011, after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

An appeals attorney for Conrad Murray said she was "shoved" out of an attorneys room at the Men's Central Jail by the son of another of the doctor's attorneys.

Valerie Wass said she arrived at the downtown jail on Tuesday to meet with her client, who was the late Michael Jackson's personal physician, to discuss Murray's complaints about his medical care. She found Murray with his trial attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, and Flanagan's son Ryan, who is also an attorney.

Wass said she opened the door and the younger Flanagan "forced me out of the room" and shoved her, and then the altercation became verbal. "My client saw what happened," Wass said.

She said J. Michael Flanagan sought to defuse the situation. Wass said she is Murray's appellate attorney. She and Flanagan both represent Murray before the California Medical Board. Wass said she filed a police report about the incident.

Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department was conducting a battery investigation of the alleged altercation.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's 2009 death and is appealing his jail sentence.

Wass said after the incident that she met with Murray for three hours about his medical complaints. She said a sheriff's commander was responsive to her requests for help for Murray.

ALSO:

L.A. mayoral candidate Kevin James playing off actor's name

Manti Te'o says he continued to lie briefly after learning of hoax

Glendale City Council moves to ban gun shows on city-owned property

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court on Nov. 7, 2011, after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Alleged jail fight between Conrad Murray’s attorneys investigated

 Dr. Conrad Murray in court on Nov. 7, 2011, after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said they were investigating an alleged altercation at the Men's Central Jail this week between Dr. Conrad Murray's attorneys.

Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's 2009 death and is appealing his jail sentence.

His appellate attorney, Valerie Wass, filed a police report on Tuesday alleging that attorney Ryan Flanagan, the son of Murray's trial attorney, James Flanagan, battered her as they met with Murray at the jail on Tuesday afternoon, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said .

In her report, Wass said she was in the meeting area with Flanagans and Murray when a verbal altercation occurred between the lawyers, Whitmore said.

Wass then alleged Ryan Flanagan committed a battery on her. Neither Wass nor Flanagan could be reached for comment.

ALSO:

L.A. mayoral candidate Kevin James playing off actor's name

Manti Te'o says he continued to lie briefly after learning of hoax

Glendale City Council moves to ban gun shows on city-owned property

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court on Nov. 7, 2011, after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Michael Jackson's doctor complains about jail conditions

Murray in court
Lawyers for Conrad Murray, the physician convicted in Michael Jackson’s death, have lodged an official complaint with the Sheriff’s Department over the conditions of his incarceration.

In a letter Wednesday, the attorneys said Murray, 58, is suffering from vein problems in his legs and shoulder pain due to the small size of his jail cell in a special housing unit for high-profile inmates.

The doctor, who is 6 feet 5, is held in a 5-by-7-foot cell, except for a brief exercise period once a week, according to the letter.

“Dr. Murray acknowledges that his notoriety may involve the necessity for isolation for his safety. Death or injury at the hands of another prisoner, however, is no worse than a slow death caused by a loss of circulations and atrophy resulting from inhuman confinement of a large man in a tiny space,” wrote lawyers J. Michael Flanagan and Valerie Wass.

Murray, serving two years for involuntary manslaughter in the pop star’s death, is due to be released in October 2013.

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

ALSO:

Suspected tagger falls from three-story building, shatters skull

Police search for gunmen who shot undercover officer in Westlake

Endeavour: Crews finish up prep work for space shuttle's big move

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray remained expressionless after the jury returned with a guilty verdict in his involuntary manslaughter trial last November. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Judge to rule on guardianship of Michael Jackson's children

Michael Jackson children
A Los Angeles judge is expected to name Michael Jackson's nephew, T.J. Jackson, as co-guardian of his three children Wednesday.

Tito Joe "T.J." Jackson, 34, is expected to share custody of the late pop singer's children -- Prince, 15; Paris, 14; and Blanket, 10 -- with Katherine Jackson.

His co-guardianship came at the request of Katherine Jackson and the children. He has helped raise the three since their father's 2009 death.

Diana Ross, named in Jackson's will as a backup guardian, met with the children in early August and approves of the arrangement, their attorney said.

Continue reading »

Court denies request by Michael Jackson’s doctor to test drug vial

A slide of Dr. Conrad Murray and propofol is projected during the prosecution's opening arguments in Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 2011.

An appellate court denied a request Monday that it order forensic testing on a piece of evidence that Dr. Conrad Murray's lawyers claimed might cast doubt on his guilt in Michael Jackson's death.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal issued the decision without comment. Attorneys for Murray, who is serving a two-year manslaughter sentence, had asked for lab testing on residue from a propofol vial found in the pop star's room.

The doctor's fingerprint was on the vial, and prosecutors theorized that it held the dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that killed Jackson on June 25, 2009. Murray's defense, which maintained that Jackson administered the fatal dose himself, asked late in the trial for testing, but was rebuffed by the trial judge who said the request was not timely.

An attorney for Murray, Valerie Wass, said she planned to petition the state Supreme Court to order testing on the drug bottle.

ALSO:

Squirt-gun fight causes thousands of dollars in damage

JPL intern helped figure out how to drive Curiosity rover on Mars

Sizzling SoCal: Heat wave continues with triple-digit temperatures

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: A slide of Dr. Conrad Murray and propofol is projected during the prosecution's opening arguments in Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 2011. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Judge: Katherine Jackson associate can't profit from merchandise line

Katherine Jackson

A federal judge rejected a novel legal argument Friday that would have allowed Michael Jackson's mother and her business partner to profit from a line of merchandise separate from the late star's estate.

In a 15-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson granted summary judgment in a copyright-infringement case brought by the executors of Jackson's estate and issued a permanent injunction barring Canadian entrepreneur Howard Mann from trading on the singer's name. 

"There is undisputed evidence that Defendants intended in bad faith to profit from use of Jackson’s name, by registering multiple domain names containing his name or the initials 'MJ' to sell Jackson-related products," the judge wrote.

Mann and Jackson's mother, Katherine, collaborated on a coffee table book and calendar that were sold without the estate's authorization. The 82-year-old Jackson family matriarch received a cut of the profits and other money amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, Mann told The Times in 2010. Katherine Jackson said then that she needed the money and wanted estate executors John Branca and John McClain to "leave Howard alone."

Mann's lawyers had argued in court papers that his company, Vintage Pop, was forever immunized against lawsuits accusing it of exploiting Michael Jackson's intellectual property because of a ruling in a 2004 suit by the singer. Jackson had sued Vintage Pop for copyright infringement and other claims, but then refused to submit to a deposition and stopped paying his lawyers. A judge dismissed the case in 2006 "with prejudice" -- meaning Jackson couldn't bring the same claims against Vintage Pop again.

Continue reading »

Janet Jackson is not after Michael's money, her attorney says

Michael Jackson estate

The two-week Jackson family drama took another turn with a statement issued by Janet Jackson's attorney blasting the executors of Michael Jackson's estate.

In the statement, Janet Jackson, her brother Randy and sister Rebbie strongly denied that they were trying to benefit financially from their late brother Michael's estate. 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 made international headlines last week and resulted in a new custody arrangement in which the family matriarch shares guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children.

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 the children’s newly appointed co-guardian, Tito Joe “T.J.” Jackson, have the final say on who is allowed at the residence.

ALSO:

Four convicted in North Hollywood text-message killing

Conservatives blast Chick-fil-A 'Tastes like hate' vandalism

Cuba Gooding Jr. off the hook as prosecutors drop battery case

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Katherine  and Michael Jackson in 2005. Credit: Getty Images

Family feud over Michael Jackson's estate escalates

Jackson family
Janet Jackson and two of her siblings ramped up their feud with the men who control the estate of Michael Jackson on Friday night.

A statement issued on behalf of Janet Jackson, her brother Randy and sister Rebbie accused the executors of trying to divide the family and distract from questions about the legitimacy of Michael Jackson’s will.

“The negative media campaign generated by the executors and their agents has been relentless,” wrote Blair G. Brown, a Washington, D.C., attorney for Janet Jackson.

Allegations that the siblings were holding their 82-year-old mother against her will in Arizona made international headlines last week and resulted in a new custody arrangement in which the family matriarch shares guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children.

In the statement, Brown disputed reports that the siblings were trying to enlist their mother in a battle over the will for their own financial benefit.

“They stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid,” Brown wrote. “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.”

The 2002 will accepted by a probate judge after Michael 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.

Continue reading »

T.J. Jackson to help keep 'outside forces' away from family money

Katherine Jackson will share guardianship of her grandchildren with T.J. Jackson, a move that her attorneys said would "insure that no outside forces try to divert the family allowance."

In their legal filings, Katherine Jackson's lawyers noted speculation about a plot to "gain control over Mrs. Jackson as a means to get at funds" belonging to Michael Jackson's children and expressed confidence in the new guardianship arrangement in preventing misconduct.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who had stripped Katherine Jackson of guardianship last week amid allegations that she had been kidnapped by family members, reappointed her at a court hearing Thursday.

The judge said an investigation by the probate court found that she was doing "a wonderful job" raising Prince, 15; Paris, 14; and Blanket, 10.

"It's clear to me the children are well cared for by Mrs. Jackson. It is clear to me they love her very much," he said.

Tito Joe "T.J." Jackson, 34, who was tapped as temporary guardian, will stay on as co-guardian at the request of Katherine Jackson and the children. He has helped raise the three since their father's 2009 death, and Beckloff said that given his background — he is the son of the Jackson Five's Tito Jackson — he can "relate" to the children.

The family has been embroiled in drama for the last couple of weeks, including allegations that the elderly matriarch had been kidnapped by relatives.

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."

ALSO:

Jackson family feud: If you can't beat it, Tweet it

Katherine Jackson shocked to learn reports of her kidnapping

Prince Jackson weighs in on family feud: 'Really angry and hurt'

-- Harriet Ryan

Katherine Jackson reinstated as guardian of grandchildren

Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson
A Superior Court judge reinstated Michael Jackson's mother as guardian of his children Thursday after saying a court investigation found that she was doing "a wonderful job."

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."

ALSO:

Ousted Bell police chief wants severance pay

Schwarzenegger and USC to establish bipartisan political think tank

Kidnapping, shooting report at Miley Cyrus home a hoax, LAPD says

-- 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

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: