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Jackson Mom's Request For Estate Info Rejected

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The legal team for Michael Jackson's mother asked a judge for the power to press the administrators of her son's estate for more information ahead of a key hearing next week, but the judge rebuffed the effort.

Lawyers for Katherine Jackson on Tuesday requested the authority to interview attorney John Branca and former music executive John McClain this Friday, as well as demand they produce business contracts and other documents related to the late pop star.

Her lawyers argued in a court filing that the information was "potentially crucial" to a hearing set for Monday that could determine the permanent representatives of Jackson's estate, which is estimated to be worth more than $500 million.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff put off dealing with their request until Monday, effectively quashing it.

Beckloff may determine at Monday's hearing whether special administrators Branca and McClain will transition from temporary to permanent representatives of the estate, and whether an allowance will be granted to Katherine Jackson and to Jackson's three children.

Jackson's 2002 will puts his assets in a trust that benefits Katherine, his three children and unnamed children's charities.

Tuesday's filing was meant to expedite the process of obtaining "important personal, business and legal information and documents relating to Michael Jackson" including his deal with concert promoter AEG Live, according to a written statement from L. Londell McMillan, who is part of Katherine Jackson's legal team.

They're also seeking "life insurance policies, settlements and disputes, as well as agreements between the temporary special administrators and Michael Jackson (and others)."

McMillan said they'd requested some of the documents earlier and had hoped to see them before the Aug. 3 hearing.

Katherine Jackson's lawyers alleged in filings that Branca and McClain were "intent on keeping her in the dark as much and for as long as possible."

Branca and McClain's legal team responded that the singer's mother had made "voluminous, burdensome and invasive discovery demands" that were impossible to meet in a short time frame.

It added that it could not produce the contract detailing Jackson's comeback tour with promoter AEG Live because of confidentiality provisions, but was willing to share the contract if Katherine Jackson agreed to the provisions. The parties were unable to agree on the terms.

The administrators' legal team also argued that it was unclear why Katherine Jackson was demanding so much information. Her subpoena and deposition notices had "all the earmarks of a protracted and expensive legal battle which does not appear to be justified," the administrators' lawyers said in a filing.

Attorney Howard Weitzman, who represents Branca and McClain, said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that comments McMillan has made on Katherine Jackson's behalf indicate "they want to rewrite Michael's will to make Mrs. Jackson 'Guardian of the Estate' and have her appointed as an Executor and Trustee of Michael Jackson's Estate."

"In his will, Michael was very specific that his mother act as the Guardian of his children and that Mr. Branca and Mr. McClain be the Executors of his Will and Trustees of his trust," Weitzman said.

In response, McMillan referred to Weitzman's statement as "half-truths."

"We accept the will, but Mrs. Jackson has not accepted both executors and trustees, and the law provides Mrs. Jackson legal recourse for removal of unfit fiduciaries," McMillan said.

"For now, we have three questions: Who drafted the will and where is the trust, what happened between 2002 and 2009 among Michael Jackson and the proposed executors, and why would anyone reject Mrs. Katherine Jackson to continue to serve as a trustee for Michael's most important business activities, especially when the will and/or trust allows them to include her?" he said. "This is quite troubling to us, and we shall get to the bottom of it."


AP special correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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