Jackson lawyers head to court

July 6, 2009 12:00 am

, LOS ANGELES, July 6 – The details of Michael Jackson’s 2002 will are to be examined in a Los Angeles court-room here on Monday as authorities ramp up preparations for the music superstar’s memorial service.

Lawyers for Jackson’s family and two men named as executors in the will are to face off in Los Angeles Superior Court, in the first significant hearing to address the tragic King of Pop’s multi-million dollar estate.

A judge named Jackson’s 79-year-old mother Katherine temporary administrator of her son’s assets on June 29 after lawyers for the musical clan said they were not aware of the existence of a valid will.

However two days later a will was filed by two respected business associates of Jackson — attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain — naming them as the co-executors of the pop star’s estate.

Lawyers for Jackson’s family said last week they were reviewing the document and have not given any indication whether they will contest it.

If they don’t, Jackson’s mother is expected to be relieved of control of her son’s assets and Branca and McClain will assume authority.

The legal hearing comes as Los Angeles police prepare to mount a large-scale operation for Tuesday’s memorial for Jackson, who died on June 25 after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest.

Los Angeles Police Department assistant chief Jim McDonnell on Sunday urged ticket-less fans seeking to pay at 10:00 am (1700 GMT) service to watch the event on television.

"Stay home — stay somewhere with a television, with air conditioning, with a friend," McDonnell told reporters.

The appeal came after 1.6 million people entered an online lottery hoping to be among 8,750 registrants to win tickets for the service at the Staples Center arena and a neighboring arena, where the event will be shown on giant screens.

Fans from around the world have been arriving in Los Angeles since the service was announced and there have been fears of logistical chaos if hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets.

Around 1,400 extra officers are expected to be deployed to police the event, according to law enforcement sources.

Organizers AEG on Sunday began notifying the lucky few who successfully applied for tickets, which are all free.

No details of what Tuesday’s service will involve have been revealed, but organizers say the 90-minute event will be a celebration of Jackson’s life.

The show’s producer told the New York Daily News the service would likely feature performances from stars but would be restrained.

"It will be a celebration of Michael’s life (but) we’re not approaching it as a TV show," Ken Ehrlich was quoted as saying.

"In the future, there may be a tribute to Michael Jackson. This is really a memorial service. It’s not going to have all the bells and whistles. We want to keep it low-key.

"People who are watching it, both live and on TV, can expect to see people who have played a role in his life, who will both be reminiscing about him and speaking to the impact he’s made," he added.

No details of where Jackson will be buried have been released.

As preparations for Tuesday’s memorial continued, investigators probing the circumstances of Jackson’s mysterious death are reportedly looking at the role of five doctors who prescribed drugs to the star.

US media, citing unidentified law enforcement sources, said investigators found the powerful sedative Propofol amongst a variety of prescription medications at Jackson’s home.

"Numerous bottles" of Diprivan — the brand name for Propofol — were found at the star’s home, an unidentified source told the Los Angeles Times.

Propofol is commonly used in hospitals to induce unconsciousness in patients before major surgery. Healthcare experts say it should never be used at home and should only be administered by trained anesthesiologists.

Los Angeles coroners have said a final cause of Jackson’s death will not be revealed until exhaustive toxicology tests from his autopsy are completed.

The Los Angeles Times reported late Sunday police have executed at least three search warrants relating to Jackson’s medical history and prescription drugs but the results of the searches have not been revealed.



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