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Jackson's mom seeks control over estate

August 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The legal battle over Michael Jackson's estate returned to a Los Angeles courtroom Monday.Jackson's mother Katherine is not in court, but her attorneys are sitting in on the probate hearing. Attorneys for the executors of Jackson's estate, as well as attorneys for concert promoter AEG and Columbia Pictures, are also attending the hearing.

The judge has approved the making of a Michael Jackson movie. The film will feature footage of Jackson rehearsing for his concert series in London and could include videos prepared for the tour. Katherine had time to review the contracts in case she had any objections before the judge approved the movie deal.

Katherine's seeking some control over her son's estate from administrators John Branca and John McClain. Jackson's last will gives 40 percent of his estate, which is estimated at about $500 million, to his mother, but she does not have any control over his financial matters.

The late singer's estate is estimated to be worth about $500 million.

Last week a judge granted Katherine permanent custody of Michael's three children, but ruled Branca and McClain would retain control of the King of Pop's financial affairs until at least October.

Meanwhile, the Jackson family is disputing a report in the British tabloid News of the World that the godfather of the singer's three children claims to be the biological father of 11-year-old Paris.

Former child star Mark Lester said Paris resembled his own 15-year-old daughter Harriet.

"I would assume that the one that looks most like me is Paris. Looking at pictures of Harriet and Paris, there's a very strong resemblance between the two of them," Lester told News of the World. "Paris has blue eyes and pale complexion, high cheek bones. My girls all have very similar features and it's been commented many times how similar Harriet and Paris are."

Lester told the tabloid he's speaking out now because he's concerned about the children's well-being.

"I come forward now because I have concerns about the welfare and upbringing of the children. There's a contact issue. I dearly want remaining contact with those kids, and I feel now this is the only way that I can insure that."

Sources close to the Jackson family told People magazine that Lester donated sperm for Michael, but not at a time when it could have been used to conceive Paris. They say the tabloid twisted Lester's words and that he never claimed that he was the father.

Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan said Lester's claims have no legal standing whatsoever, but Lester reportedly says that he is willing to take a paternity test.

Several others are claiming to have biological ties to Jackson's kids.

"I am the sole biological mother of these children of course I have a legal right to these children," said Claire Cruise, who claims she was married to Michael Jackson when she was 18.

Cruise says she is willing to take a DNA test. And although there is a resemblance between Cruise and Jackson's daughter Paris, her story has many of loose ends.

"I conceived them in my body and they were safely removed from my body," said Cruise.

Meanwhile, the real Billie Jean, who Jackson wrote about in a song and has a history of stalking the pop star, made a surprise appearance in court. She says she is the mother of Jackson's youngest son and is asking for custody.

The judge will hear petitions at a later date.

Jackson died June 25 at his rented Holmby Hills mansion at the age of 50. Final autopsy results have not been released.

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