Dispute over Michael Jackson’s will persisted Tuesday between members of the Jackson clan and executor’s of Michael’s estate, with custody of the pop star’s three children now being brought into question. TMZ reported that Michael’s nephew, TJ Jackson, Tito’s 32-year-old son, would be filing a motion in court to take legal custody of Michael’s children from Katherine Jackson, the family matriarch, after she allegedly went missing over the weekend, but was found safe on Monday. Two of the executors of Michael’s will, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, are also reportedly filing a motion for temporary custody of the children.
On Tuesday afternoon, Michael’s brother Randy appeared on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show, Politics Nation, claiming Branca and McClain were “vicious” and “criminals,” and that Michael’s will was “falsified.” Furthermore, Randy attributed the media attention towards his mother and Michael’s children – Prince Michael, Paris, and Blanket – as a concerted effort made by the executors to divert focus from the matter.
“This is all an effort to deflect attention away from a letter that was asking for the resignation of John Branca and John McClain because we feel there was criminal misconduct on their part,” Randy told Sharpton, referring to a document written by him, and siblings Janet, Jermaine, Tito and Rebbie, stating Michael did not sign his will. “They’ve done whatever they can to turn family members against family members; this is how they operate.”
Sharpton additionally broadcasted a video of himself and Michael on the date the will was signed, claiming the pop star was indeed not in Los Angeles, but at a conference for the National Action Network in New York.
In response to Sharpton’s interview, Jim Bates, a representative of McClain and Branco, told theGrio the two executors would defer to their original statement on the matter, commenting, “Any doubts about the validity of Michael’s will and his selection of Executors were thoroughly and completely debunked two years ago when a challenge was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals and, finally, the California Supreme Court.”
They continued, “We are saddened that false and defamatory accusations grounded in stale Internet conspiracy theories are now being made by certain members of Michael’s family whom he chose to leave out of his will. We are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress has been made to secure the financial future of his children by turning around the estate’s finances as well as during a time when so many of Michael’s fans, old and new, are enjoying his artistry through exciting new projects.”
Bates also pointed to Tito Jackson’s remarks to TMZ late Tuesday afternoon, in which he disbanded from the feud and denied earlier allegations.
“I completely retract my signature from the July 17th letter sent to the executors of my brother Michael’s estate and repudiate all the claims made against them,” Tito said. “I don’t want any part of that letter whatsoever.”