Judge Backs Michael Jackson Lawyer And Friend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Judge Backs Michael Jackson Lawyer And Friend

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael Jackson's longtime attorney and a family friend should take over the pop singer's estate, a judge said Monday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued his ruling after a court hearing Monday morning. Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain had been designated in Jackson's 2002 will as the people he wanted to administer his estate.

Jackson died June 25, deeply in debt. But a court filing estimates that his estate will be worth more than $500 million.

The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, had applied to oversee her son's estate, but that was before the will surfaced. Her attorney, Burt Levitch, expressed concerns about McClain and Branca's financial leadership.

Levitch told Beckloff that Branca had previously been removed from financial positions of authority by Jackson. Branca's attorney says he was rehired by Jackson on June 17, days before Jackson's death.

Katherine Jackson did not appear at Monday's hearing. Branca did attend.

Branca and McClain will have to post a $1 million bond on the estate, Beckloff ruled. Their authority over the estate will expire Aug. 3, when another hearing on the estate will be held.

Katherine Jackson's attorneys had asked that she be appointed to serve as a co-administrator with Branca and McClain.

Beckloff did not grant that request. Beckloff is now considering which powers over the estate to give to McClain and Branca. He will take that issue up after a short recess.

"Frankly, Mrs. Jackson has concerns about handing over the keys to the kingdom," said John E. Schreiber, an attorney for Katherine Jackson.

Paul Gordon Hoffman, an attorney for Branca and McClain, said some of Katherine Jackson's concerns were unfounded.

"We're not aware of any real conflicts at all," he said in response to a claim that the men may have business dealings with parties such as concert promoter AEG Live.

In contrast, Hoffman said Jackson's mother had more of a potential conflict administering the estate because she is a likely beneficiary.

"If there are any conflicts by the parties, Katherine Jackson rather than Mr. McClain and Mr. Branca have them," Hoffman said.

A public memorial has been scheduled for Jackson in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday. More than 1.6 million people registered to win the coveted free tickets, and only 8,750 names were chosen.

Los Angeles officials are concerned about other fans clogging city streets

Downtown hotels were quickly filling Monday, and police warned those without tickets to the memorial to stay away.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.