Casey Kasem’s widow and three adult children are still tangling over the circumstances of his death three years after losing the radio icon.
Earlier this month, Jean Kasem, 63, filed a lawsuit (obtained by PEOPLE) against her stepchildren Kerri, Mike, and Julie Kasem, Julie’s husband, Jamil Anis Aboulhosn, and their attorney Troy Martin, for wrongful death, negligence and fraud. Catholic Health Initiatives, which operates the facility where Kasem died in 2014, is also named as a defendant in the papers.
Kasem’s three adult children — from his first marriage to Linda Myers Kasem — first filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jean in November 2015, alleging she abused their father and caused emotional distress by restricting their access to him as his health failed.
“If you look at the court records, it counters every single thing that she’s putting out there. She’s just putting out false information,” Kerri tells PEOPLE in response to Jean’s filing. “He was dying because of her actions and would have still lived a year or two. We all did everything we could to save him. For her to say we unplugged him is disgusting and evil.”
In her lawsuit, Jean claims her late husband’s adult children forced their father to sign a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care … under duress and undue influence” in November 2007 while he was “without legal representation, recovering from surgery, under the influence of medications and other substances that causes drowsiness and impairs judgement.”
Jean also alleges in her complaint that Casey was forcibly taken to St. Anthony Hospital in June 2014. The complaint asserts that the hospital “chose to execute defendants’ illegal, unilateral decision” by “starving Casey to death” for “financial gain,” according to Jean’s rep, John Garger.
Additionally, Jean claims she and her daughter Liberty were banned from the hospital and were informed less than a week later that they would get five minutes to say their goodbyes to Casey — a claim Kerri says is “an absolute, atrocious lie.”
“The truth about my husband’s homicide is so disturbing to confront but I am compelled to seek justice,” Jean says in a statement. “After an exhaustive forensic investigation following Casey’s death and autopsy, there was no other choice but to bring this lawsuit. The facts unambiguously point to defendants’ deceit, self-dealing and fraud, which demand to be exposed. I have taken this action for my daughter Liberty and for my husband of 35 years, as I’m certain Casey would have done the same for me. I pray the justice we seek is quick and thoroughly delivered, not only for us, but for all of the vulnerable and elderly who are subjected to the same predatory and abusive conduct by those who are anxious for them to die for illicit and immediate financial gain.”
However, Kerri is hitting back at Jean’s claims, saying she and her siblings have “never one time asked for any money through the years of all of this.”
“When my father died, what was the first thing she did? She went after our money. The only thing he left us was a trust for the kids—for the grandkids, for us—and that’s all he did. She went after all of it and delayed it for two years.”
In 2014, even Casey’s burial was a source of contention two months after his death. His final days were rife with family drama, and he died at the age of 82 thousands of miles away from his California home — a sad end his adult children claim was caused by Jean.
For years, he had been quietly living with advanced Parkinson’s disease, but the drama was kicked into high gear after Kerri held a protest outside her father’s L.A. mansion claiming her stepmother had kept her father from her, Mike and Julie for more than three months.
Several months later, Dr. Paul Leitner wrote a letter to the Elder Abuse Investigations department at the Office of Criminal Investigations in Santa Monica, California, claiming Jean had entered the Berkley East Convalescent Hospital where her husband was being cared for and removed the tube providing him nutrition and hydration. “She was informed of the risks of doing so and was told she was placing Mr. Kasem in great bodily harm or possible demise,” wrote Dr. Leitner at the time.
Logan Clark, a private investigator hired by Kerri, also claimed Jean stole equipment from the facility. “They knew that Casey would die if he didn’t have that machine hooked up,” said Clark. “We have video of her putting Casey in an SUV in the front seat and then we believe went to her house for a day or two.”
After traveling with Casey and some caretakers to Las Vegas before flying to Washington, Jean brought her ailing husband to one of her friend’s homes, Kerri’s lawyer Scott Winship said at the time. After Kerri obtained a conservatorship and arrived to Seattle to transport her father to a hospital, Jean threw raw meat at her stepdaughter.
After his death, Jean took custody of her late husband’s remains and had an autopsy performed; after Kerri and her siblings requested an autopsy of their own to use as evidence in their pending elder abuse case, Jean had Casey’s remains moved to Norway, Clark claimed at the time.
“We’ve had this wrongful death lawsuit going in Los Angeles for the past two-and-a-half years,” Kerri, Mike and Julie’s lawyer Troy Martin tells PEOPLE. “She has done everything that she can to try and delay that lawsuit from going forward, and finally she’s getting to the end of her rope.”
- Additional reporting by NICOLE SANDS