As Celebuzz was first to report after exclusively obtaining the scathing correspondence, the Jackson five used a five-page legal letter demanding executors John Branca and John McClain resign — effective immediately — because, they claimed, Jackson’s last Will and Testament from 2002 was “Fake, Flawed and Fraudulent.”
But in a statement Tuesday night, attorneys for the Estate dismissed the allegations and those making them as people whom Jackson — who died three years ago last month — purposefully left out of his final wishes.
“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,” the statement said.
“We are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress has been made to secure the financial future of his children by turning around the Estate’s finances as well as during a time when so many of Michael’s fans, old and new, are enjoying his artistry through exciting new projects.”
In their missive, the five members of the pop star’s family accused the executors of falsifying a legal document in order to gain control of Jackson’s estate against his wishes and using a court to seal documents that might prove otherwise.
“Since the passing of Michael, our beloved brother, you have failed to perform your duties as executors of his estate, but what you have not failed at is taking advantage of a grieving mother, father and a grieving family,” said the letter.
“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 that he did not want either of you to have anything to do with his life or estate for that matter.”
Branca, who began representing Jackson in 1980, parted ways with the superstar in 2006 in a disagreement over other advisors.
But according to documents he has since produced, eight days before his death, Jackson signed a letter once again retaining him as his lawyer.
McClain, a founder of Interscope Records, was also an associate of Jackson, since his youth.
The 2002 will named Jackson’s mother as guardian of his three children and ordered that all his assets be moved into an entity known as the Michael Jackson Family Trust.
The five members of the famous Jackson clan also threatened to escalate their claims to police for investigation of “potential criminal misconduct,” as well as having law firm Baker Hosteller launch legal action against the pair.
“We are going to take every appropriate action to seek justice and to see to it that the truth be known,” the letter added.
“You’ve dishonored everything that our brother Michael stood for. Your greed and hasty business decisions have shown that you have no regard for the preservation of his legacy, nor the quality of work that he exemplified.”
Noticeably missing from the group of signatures, however, were Jackson’s other siblings Jackie, Marlon and his outspoken sister LaToya.
In a terse three paragraph response issued to Celebuzz, lawyers for the Estate cited a ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff in November, 2009, when the benchman rejected a challenge from Jackson’s father Joe over the appointment of the executors.
The statement read in full:
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 was rejected by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals and, finally, the California Supreme Court.
Under the supervision of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, Co- Executors John Branca and John McClain have diligently carried out their fiduciary duties as well as their obligation to Michael to make sure that his Estate benefits the only family members he named in his will – his mother and his three children.
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. We are especially disheartened that they come at a time when remarkable progress has been made to secure the financial future of his children by turning around the Estate’s finances as well as during a time when so many of Michael’s fans, old and new, are enjoying his artistry through exciting new projects.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, by a combination of the anesthetic propofol and sedatives administered by Dr. Conrad Murray, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.
The 59-year-old Murray was convicted and jailed in November last year after prosecutors said he abandoned medical judgment by complying with the pop star’s requests for a surgical anesthetic to help him sleep.
He has appealed the conviction.
Watch footage from the Conrad Murray’s wrong death of Michael Jackson trial.
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