This week, the majority of Michael Jackson‘s siblings contested his will, accusing lawyers John McClain and John Branca of forging the King of Pop’s signature, according to the NY Daily News.
Controversial details in Michael’s will include that the sole beneficiaries are Michael’s mother, Katherine, and his children, Paris, 14; Prince, 15; and Blanket, 10 — which effectively disinherits the rest of the Jackson clan — and that the signature and location of the signing — July 7, 2002, in Los Angeles — are impossible.
[UPDATE] In a NewsOne Exclusive, sources close to Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network support the Jacksons’ allegation that the signature is fake: On the weekend of July 5, 2002, Michael was hosted by Sharpton’s organization in New York City, where Michael spoke about his feelings toward Sony executive Tommy Mottola and the record industry.
According to Rebbie, Janet, Randy, Tito, and Jermaine (pictured from left, with Jermaine appearing last) yet another detail that makes them suspicious of the will is the fact that Michael also “despised” the lawyers:
Our brother told us, in no uncertain terms and without hesitation in the months prior to his death, that he despised both of you and he did not want either of you to have anything to do with his life or estate for that matter.
For the Jacksons, the will issue isn’t just affecting them; they also claim that the issue is affecting their mother’s health:
Your [the lawyers’] actions are affecting her health, and on top of that, we’ve just found out she recently had a mini-stroke, the Jacksons wrote. Please understand, she’s not equipped to handle the stress load you are putting on her.
Naturally, both McClain and Branca have rejected the Jacksons’ claims, saying that the clan is just disgruntled because they were not a part of the will:
Any doubts about the validity of Michael’s will and his selection of executors were thoroughly and completely debunked two years ago when a challenge [by the siblings] was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals and, finally, the California Supreme Court,” the lawyers said in a statement Thursday.
We are saddened that false and defamatory accusations grounded in stale Internet conspiracy theories are now being made by certain members of Michael’s family whom he chose to leave out of his will.
Interestingly enough, the lawyers have an unlikely ally in their defense: Paris recently countered some of her relatives’ claims on Twitter, writing:
I will defend my beloved family members with all I have, even if it means from other family members,” she tweeted. “I am going to clarify right now that what has been said about my grandmother is a rumor. … She is completely fine.
To her Uncle Randy, she reportedly snapped:
I don’t appreciate you telling everyone things that aren’t true. Maybe he should have respect for his mother.
Reportedly, the tweet was later deleted.
At this point, it is unclear what steps the Jackson family will take to further challenge the validity of the will.