Jacksons v AEG Timeline Top Stories

Yet more Jackson: Wills, films and Madonna tributes

By | Published on Monday 21 September 2009

Katherine Jackson has been given the all clear to challenge the authority of the administrators of her late son’s estate. As previously reported, Michael Jackson’s most recent will named attorney John Branca and music exec John McClain as executors and they have since been dealing with the late king of pop’s affairs, including entering into various commercial deals to try and cash in on Jacko’s legacy.

Mrs Jackson raised concerns about Branca and McClain almost immediately, arguing that while Branca, in particular, had had a good working relationship with her son when the will was written in 2002, that wasn’t the case by 2009. Branca, though, argued he had started working with Jacko again in the months before his untimely death, and that he was therefore up to speed on the singer’s latest business dealings.

Katherine had already persuaded the court that she should also be given a say in the way her late son’s estate was managed, but it seems she is now considering applying to have one or the other of the executors removed. The problem is that under the rules of a private trust set up by Jacko, if anyone set to benefit from the will contests any parts of it they will become ‘disinherited’. This would mean that if Katherine, as one of the major beneficiaries of the trust, chose to contest Branca or McClain’s position as executor, she would, in theory, risk losing the benefits she is due. If that makes sense.

Therefore Mrs Jackson’s most recent application to the court was for confirmation that that provision of the trust would not be enacted should she make any moves to remove Branca or McClain. And the judge dealing with Jacko’s estate, Mitchell Beckloff, provided that confirmation, neither executors having raised any objections. It now remains to be seen if Jackson makes any formal application to the court to have one of the executors removed from their post.

Despite all these legal wranglings, Branca and McClain do seem to be liaising with Mrs Jackson on the decisions they have made regarding the late singer’s estate, and the big bucks business deals they are entering into on the estate’s behalf. Nevertheless, there are reports that some in the Jackson family have expressed concerns about the previously reported documentary film set to feature footage from the rehearsals for the planned AEG-promoted O2 residency, some recorded just days before the king of pop’s demise.

The movie, set to open in cinemas next month, is a collaboration between AEG, Sony Pictures, Sony Music and the Jackson estate. But some of Jacko’s relations fear that AEG are perhaps using the documentary as a propaganda tool to counter reports that the singer was simply not fit enough to do a fifty night residency in London, and that the tour promoters had coerced him into such a big commitment against his will. It was the prospect of such a gruelling residency – conspiracy theorists argue – that led to Jackson in consuming such dangerous quantities of the prescription drugs that killed him. The AEG-produced film, some are alleging, will be edited to show Jacko to be much healthier than he really was.

The New York Post quote a source thus: “He [Michael Jackson] supposedly looks fit, together and excited. The family can’t speak out because money will be paid to the trust, but privately, they fear the movie is propaganda to back AEG’s argument that Michael was healthy and wasn’t being exploited. While fans want to remember Michael as the king of pop, the family are still suspicious of AEG and how they handled Michael”.

AEG, though, have pointed out that they just handed over their footage to Sony Pictures, and have left the editing of the documentary to the movie people, so have no control over how Jackson is portrayed. A spokesman for the film company, said the Post’s source’s claims “make no sense and don’t deserve comment”.

Talking of Jacko tributes, Janet Jackson is planning doing more tributing for her late brother following her performance at last week’s VMAs. Rumour has it she is planning on doing a joint tribute with Madonna, who apparently chatted with Janet at the MTV awards event which, also apparently, Madge only attended in the first place because she wanted to pay her respects to Jacko.

Another of those sources said this: “It was a meeting of two great musical minds. Madonna was so impressed with Janet’s tribute to Michael that they started talking about how great it would be to honour him by doing something together. With that one performance Janet proved she’s back on top of her game. And who better to join forces with than Madonna? There was definitely something very interesting being planned between them”.