L.A. officials discussing possible Tuesday event
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles officials are holding closed-door talks about a possible event for Michael Jackson on Tuesday at a downtown arena, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.
The event would take place at the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, said the person who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
It wasn’t immediately clear if a funeral or a public memorial was being discussed for the entertainer – or both.
All talks are preliminary, and no decisions have been made, the person said.
Another site that has also been discussed for a Jackson tribute is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The discussions were held as the federal Drug Enforcement Administration joining the investigation into Jackson’s death, and Jermaine Jackson said he would be “hurt” if toxicology reports showed his younger brother abused prescription drugs.
“In this business, the pressures and things that you go through, you never know what one turns to,” Jermaine Jackson said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.
The circumstances surrounding Jackson’s death last week have become a federal issue, with the DEA asked to help police take a look at the pop star’s doctors and possible drug use. Allegations have emerged that the 50-year-old entertainer had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants.
Asked if he would be shocked or surprised if Michael’s drug use was proven, Jermaine Jackson said, “I would be hurt.” He said he had heard about prescription drug use in the 1980s when his brother was hurt in an accident filming a commercial but did not know if drug use was a possibility more recently.
“I don’t know about these things, because I hate anything with drugs,” he said, adding that it hurts the family for people to say things about drug use “because we don’t know.”
Psychic entertainer Uri Geller, a former Jackson confidant, said he tried to keep Jackson from abusing painkillers and other prescription drugs, but others in the singer’s circle kept him supplied.
“When Michael asked for something, he got it. This was the great tragedy,” Geller said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his suburban London home.
Jermaine Jackson said he would like Neverland Ranch to be his brother’s final resting place. A person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity told the AP that permits for a burial at Neverland could not be arranged in time.
Jermaine Jackson said in the “Today” interview that he wishes he had died instead of his younger brother, and that Michael was “a gift from Allah.”
The Los Angeles Police Department asked the DEA to help in the probe, a law enforcement official in Washington told the AP on condition of anonymity because of the investigation’s sensitivity.
While the investigation into the singer’s death deepened, passionate Michael Jackson fans spent another day in an uneasy limbo, awaiting word from the King of Pop’s camp about where and when a memorial service might be held for their hero – and if they’re even invited.
Speculation about the potential location of a memorial has ricocheted from the Staples Center to the Los Angeles Coliseum to the Nokia Theater. Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine said a public memorial was in the works but that it wouldn’t be at Neverland.
The elimination of the proposed Neverland memorial came as a blow to many Jackson fans who had already descended on the estate in the rolling hills near Santa Barbara with the hope of attending a public viewing.
“We’re terribly disappointed,” said Ida Barron, 44, who arrived with her husband Paul Barron, 56, intending to spend several days in a tent.
On the legal front, Jackson’s 7-year-old will was filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles court, giving his entire estate to a family trust and naming his 79-year-old mother Katherine and his three children as beneficiaries. The will also estimates the value of his estate at more than $500 million.
Katherine Jackson was appointed the children’s guardian, with entertainer Diana Ross, a longtime friend of Michael Jackson, named successor guardian if something happens to his mother. A court will ultimately decide who the children’s legal guardian will be.
Jackson’s lawyer John Branca and family friend John McClain, a music executive, were named in the will as co-executors of his estate. In a statement, they said the most important element of the will was Jackson’s steadfast desire that his mother become the legal guardian for his children.
The will doesn’t name father Joe Jackson to any position of authority in administering the estate. Also shut out is ex-wife Debbie Rowe, the mother of his two oldest children.
The will, dated July 7, 2002, gives the entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. Details of the trust will not be made public.
Jackson owns a 50 percent stake in the massive Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers.
Jackson, who died June 25, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7.
Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children; the youngest was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified.