LA prepares for global MJ fan invasion
ANTHONY McCARTNEY,AP Entertainment Writer
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles officials are scrambling over the holiday weekend to figure out how to accommodate an expected horde of Michael Jackson fans who will show up for a public memorial service next week.
The Jackson family said in a statement that the event has been set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the downtown Staples Center. Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine says the service could draw 100,000 fans. The center’s capacity is about 20,000.
Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live, which owns the Staples Center and was Jackson’s promoter, said tickets would be free. He was not sure how they would be distributed.
Zine said plans for the memorial are clearly moving forward, but he wished there had been more time to work out the logistics for such a huge event.
“If you can imagine 100,000 people show up and you have 20,000 capacity (at the Staples Center), there is not sufficient room. Now you have a crowd-control problem,” he said. With the July Fourth holiday weekend “it’s the worst time to work something out.” He also said he’s concerned about the cost of police overtime for the cash-strapped city.
Jackson’s brother Jermaine told Larry King during Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” that there will be a private ceremony for family and some special guests before the public memorial, according to show transcripts. He added that the family wants to have other memorials around the United States.
Meanwhile, the future of Michael Jackson’s children was thrown into question Thursday when his ex-wife emerged and won a delay in a custody hearing while she decides whether she wants to raise her two offspring.
It was the first legal move from Deborah Rowe since the entertainer’s death. Jackson’s will asks for his mother, Katherine, to get permanent custody of all three of his children.
Rowe, who met Jackson as a receptionist in the office of his dermatologist, has characterized their relationship as strictly for the purpose of birthing Jackson children. She is the mother of his two oldest children and received $8.5 million in their divorce, according to court records. His youngest child was conceived with a surrogate.
She has spent very little time with her son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11. But Rowe also has opposed the idea of Katherine Jackson getting custody of her children when it came up in the past.
Rowe’s attorney, Eric M. George, said his client had not decided whether to seek custody. A guardianship hearing was set for July 13 at the request of attorneys for Rowe and for Katherine Jackson, 79, who has temporary guardianship of her son’s children.
The identity of the surrogate mother of the singer’s youngest child, 7-year-old son Prince Michael II, has never been revealed.
In other developments, there will be another court hearing on Monday to deal with who will take temporary control of Jackson’s estate. He left all his assets to the Michael Jackson Family Trust.
A person familiar with the details of the trust said it would be shared between his mother, who gets 40 percent, his three children, who together get 40 percent, and charities for children, which would receive 20 percent. The charities will be determined later by the trust. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Authorities also were investigating allegations that the 50-year-old Jackson had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and California Attorney General Jerry Brown both were helping Los Angeles police investigate the possible involvement of prescription drugs in Jackson’s death.
Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood and Beth Harris in Los Angeles and Michele Salcedo in Washington contributed to this story.
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