Michael Jackson family drama: Katherine Jackson 'devastated,' says she's coming home
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In a statement to ABC News, Michael Jackson's mother said she was "devastated" to hear that her grandchildren had been "taken away" from her while she was resting in Arizona and she was coming home to be with them.
Katherine Jackson also addressed rumors of her whereabouts and health.
"I am here today to let everybody know that I am fine and I'm here with my children," she told ABC News exclusively.
Tito Jackson's son, TJ Jackson, on Wednesday was appointed as a temporary guardian of Michael Jackson's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, until a hearing in August.
Video of the statement appeared on "Nightline" at 11:30 p.m. PT on ABC7.
However, Katherine Jackson said she had left TJ Jackson to be in charge of the children in her absence.
"I never leave home without leaving them instructions of who to stay there with them," she said. "I told them it wasn't necessary for him to go down sign up for guardianship ... I don't know who instructed him to do that."
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff temporarily suspended Katherine Jackson as the children's guardian because she is said to be in Arizona and hadn't spoken with them in several days. The appointment means that TJ Jackson will be the stand-in for Katherine Jackson whenever she is away and make any legal decisions when called for.
TJ Jackson was in court and sought the temporary appointment, but his attorney said he wasn't trying to replace Katherine Jackson permanently. TJ Jackson said he spoke with Katherine Jackson on Tuesday, but she sounded strange. He said she was using words he's never heard her use and her voice at times sounded slurred.
"There are only three words I want to say: Always kids first," TJ Jackson said. When asked if he wanted Katherine Jackson home he responded, "That too."
In addition to the appointment, the judge ruled that Michael Jackson's three children cannot leave California without a court order.
The judge heard accounts inferring sinister activity. Sandra Ribera, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, said, "I believe Mrs. Jackson is being held against her will."
Outside the courthouse, the attorney who represents Katherine Jackson regarding estate matters said he was turned away when he flew to a Tucson resort to see her Tuesday night.
"I really did want to see her and I actually got a little bit irritated that I didn't, but there was a very significant concern on the part of Janet (Jackson) and Jermaine (Jackson) that their mother not be upset," attorney Perry Sanders said.
The judge said he wants to hear from Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of Prince and Paris, and from Diana Ross, who was designated by Michael Jackson as his second choice for guardian.
Sanders said he hopes all will be resolved before then.
The appointment comes after days of turmoil among the Jackson family, with a relative reporting Katherine Jackson missing. That report has since been dismissed by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. She reportedly called her grandchildren late Tuesday night, ending the days-long silence.
All of this comes after days of bickering between factions of Jackson's family that included a driveway confrontation that remains under investigation and lingering questions about the well-being of Katherine Jackson.
Some of the family drama was seen on a videotaped driveway confrontation. The footage shows some of the Jackson family siblings, Jermaine, Randy and Janet confronting Michael Jackson's two older children Paris and Prince at their Calabasas home. The trio was quickly hauled away by security, but not before Janet Jackson was seen scolding Paris for posting on her Twitter account about family matters.
"After exiting their vehicles, Jackson family members ran up to Michael's children as they yelled and began to aggressively grab at the cellphones in their hands," said Sandra Ribera, an attorney for Katherine Jackson.
Paris recently said on Twitter that she had not seen or spoken to her grandmother in about nine days. She wrote, "9 days and counting... so help me god I will make whoever did this pay."
The 82-year-old matriarch has reportedly been in Arizona with her daughter Rebbie, resting. Randy Jackson later said that the reason they all went to the house was to let the kids know that they can visit or talk to their grandmother at any time.
"We did go to the home to let Paris and Prince know that they can visit with or talk to their grandma at any time, because we felt that someone was trying to twist the story and make it feel as though we were the problem denying them access to their grandma," Randy Jackson said on "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
However, Ribera believes that some Jackson siblings are trying to keep her away from the kids because of on-going issues over the late pop singer's will.
"All they really said is, you know, we just want our grandma back home, and that's all they want, and they don't understand why they're being prevented from talking to her and why she's being prevented from calling them," said Ribera.
Michael Jackson left all of his estate to his mother and three children, but many of Jackson's siblings claim that his will has been falsified. They blame the will's executors for manipulating Katherine Jackson, but the singer's estate has denied all of those accusations, saying family members are simply bullying the Jackson children over money.
"We are concerned that we do what we can to protect them from undue influences, bullying, greed, and other unfortunate circumstances," executors John Branca and John McClain wrote in a letter posted on fan sites.
Randy Jackson accused the estate of trying to keep the family's disagreements at the forefront to deflect attention away from questions about the will.
As for the videotaped altercation, Whitmore said deputies are continuing to investigate it, but he said there are no indications it involved the singer's children. He said the incident involved two adult males but did not identify them or elaborate on details. A battery case may be presented to prosecutors, but Whitmore added that decision has not yet been made.
The estate and Katherine Jackson's guardianship of the children are supervised by a probate judge. The judge recently received a financial summary showing that Michael Jackson's estate has earned $475 million in gross profits since his death, and many of his major debts have either been resolved or are no longer delinquent. The singer died with more than $500 million in debt.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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