Another day, another half-a-dozen updates about the Jackson family civil war. While updates are coming at lighting speed about Katherine Jackson's whereabouts, the well-being of her grandchildren and the status of the Jackson siblings' attempt to invalidate the late Michael Jackson's will, we at BET.com are working hard to help you stay on top of the drama.
On Friday, Katherine Jackson and T.J. Jackson announced, through Katherine's attorney, that they plan to file for joint custody of Michael's three children, Paris Jackson, 14, Prince Michael Jackson, 15, and Blanket Jackson, 10. "That pleading will essentially now legally reflect how Mrs. Jackson and T.J. have often shared responsibilities of raising the children since Michael Jackson's tragic passing," Katherine's attorney, Perry Sanders, tells TMZ.
But a judge has ordered an independent investigation into the welfare of the three Jackson grandchildren before making his decision. According to the court order, a probate court investigator will have the ability to interview the three children without notice and report back to the judge, who will then decide how and if custody should be shared between Katherine and T.J.
The news comes 24 hours after a Los Angeles judge stripped Katherine of custody and awarded temporary guardianship to T.J. At the hearing, the judge reasoned that it was Katherine's compromised position, rather than any wrongdoing on her part, that cost her custody of her three grandkids. Soon after news broke that 34-year-old T.J. had been awarded custody, Katherine rushed back to Los Angeles from Arizona, where she had been holed up for nine days without contact with her grandchildren.
Meanwhile, La Toya Jackson, the only one of Michael's eight siblings who has been avoiding the press since the family drama started over a week ago, has finally broken her silence. The typically media-friendly sibling is refusing to take part in the open war between the siblings, Michael's grandchildren and Katherine, and reportedly told her brothers and sister to stop dragging the family name through the mud and keep their issues private. TMZ also reports that La Toya wants nothing to do with the attempt to invalidate Michael's will, lead by Randy Jackson, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Jackson.
Speaking of Janet, many have been surprised by her role in the Jackson family drama, which she usually bends over backward to avoid. Janet, who always appeared to be close to Michael and — until recently — his kids, was reportedly pressured by her brother Randy to join forces in ousting the executors of Michael's estate and invalidate the will, which he believes is fraudulent. This despite the fact that it was verified by a judge and withstood three legal challenges.
According to RadarOnline.com, Janet is very close with Randy, and he took advantage of her sympathy to convince her to join his crusade to "right a wrong," as he put it to Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation this past Tuesday. Apparently, Randy believed that as the most credible Jackson sibling, Janet's involvement would give the plot an air of legitimacy. "Janet finally agreed because she didn't want to disappoint Randy, as he has convinced her that without her, they stood no chance," a source close to the family tells Radar.
Randy is building his case by claiming the executors of Michael's estate, John Branca and John McClain, are attempting to isolate and kill Katherine, just as they did Michael. Randy took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to say, "It is my fear and belief, that they are trying to take my mother’s life" in order to "propagate their lies, financial agendas and to protect a fraudulent will."
So, to recap, that puts Randy, Janet, Jermaine and Rebbie Jackson on the side in favor of contesting the will; Tito Jackson, his son T.J., cousin Trent, Marlon, La Toya and MJ's three children on the side against contesting the will, and poor 82-year-old Katherine seemingly stuck in the middle, trying to focus on "resting and staying away from stress." We wish her all the luck in the world with that.
Keep it locked on BET.com for all the updates in this full-throttle civil war within the Jackson family.
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(Photos: from left Valerie Macon/Getty Images, Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)