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Michael Jackson family feud escalates into custody fight over kids

July 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Michael Jackson family feud has escalated into a fight over custody of the late singer's three children. Meanwhile, Katherine Jackson remains unseen.

There are multiple reports Tuesday morning that that the siblings of the late Michael Jackson want someone else to step in as temporary guardian for his children - someone besides 82-year-old Katherine.

On Monday, deputies were called to the Jackson family home in Calabasas to investigate a possible battery. According to Steve Whitmore of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, there was a minor scuffle between two Jackson family members.

Trent Jackson, who is Katherine Jackson's nephew and cousin to the children, says the children were coming home from summer school when Janet, Randy, Jermaine and others followed the kids back to the house. Katherine Jackson's attorney Sandra Ribera is calling it an ambush by the adult Jackson siblings.

"Jackson family members ran up to Michael's children as they yelled and began to aggressively grab at the cellphones in their hands," Ribera said in a statement. "Out of concern for the wellbeing of Prince, Paris, and Blanket Jackson, the children were forced to temporarily leave their home and (were) taken to a safe location."

Trent Jackson alleges Jermaine and the group were trying to take the children.

"I told them, 'No, the kids aren't going. They are staying here until Grandma gets home,'" he said.

Trent Jackson says that Prince and Paris keep demanding to talk to their grandmother, adding, "This is truly a kidnapping. Why can't we see her?"

Executors for Michael Jackson's estate said in a statement, "We are concerned that we do what we can to protect them from undue influences, bully, greed and other unfortunate circumstances."

But Jermaine is telling a different story, saying the children can visit Katherine anytime. They allege that it is Trent who is manipulating Paris to send out alarming tweets, leading to a missing persons report - which has been dismissed.

"The missing case is closed. We have determined that she's safe, and she's with family members," Whitmore said.

On Monday night, the children's court-appointed attorney met with them and may try to change the temporary guardian. The case would have to go through the court, which has an appointed attorney to represent the interests of the children. An emergency hearing would have to be requested, but so far, that request has not been made.

Katherine's business partner, Howard Mann, says it is money that is pulling them apart.

"Katherine and the children, who are benefactors of the estate, fall on one side, and then Randy and Jermaine and Janet and Rebbie ... fall on the other side," Mann said. "They're a group of people who have a great deal of questions about the administration of the estate."

The siblings not involved include LaToya, Jackie and Marlon. They all have jobs with AEG and benefit from the status of the current situation.

Jermaine and the siblings involved in Monday's altercation are contesting the validity of the will and signed a letter demanding that the executors resign. Tito had originally signed the letter as well, but he now says he is no longer supporting their efforts.

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