Matriarch Katherine Jackson is believed to be "held against her will," a lawyer says at a hearing

By Ken Lee
July 25, 2012 03:05 PM
Credit: XPosure

Michael Jackson’s nephew TJ Jackson – the son of Tito – was named temporary guardian of the late singer’s three children Wednesday amid allegations family matriarch Katherine is being held against her will.

“This is not a power play by TJ Jackson,” L.A. Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff said at an emergency hearing. “This is based on the allegation that Katherine Jackson is being prevented from acting as guardian.”

The hearing is the latest dramatic development in the recent family crisis enveloping the famous musical clan.

At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to some, the welfare of Jackson’s three children and his 82-year-old mother who has been their guardian since Michael’s 2009 death at age 50.

A clear understanding of the whereabouts and condition of Katherine Jackson has been clouded by conflicting statements and allegations between various family members, including Jackson’s siblings. Oldest daughter Paris Jackson, 14, has fumed on Twitter about the treatment of her grandmother.

In court Wednesday, TJ’s attorney, Charles A. Schultz, called the situation dire as he explained the move for temporary guardianship for the 34-year-old TJ.

“There’s immediate harm to the minor children, there was a potential abduction at the house, in addition to a phone call from Katherine last night that gave us real concern,” said Schultz. “We are looking at this as a Band-Aid until Miss Jackson returns or re-establishes contact with the kids.”

Added Katherine’s attorney Sandra Ribera: “I have reason to believe she’s being held against her will.”

Judge Beckloff made clear he was temporarily suspending Katherine’s powers as guardian “not based on any wrongdoing on her part,” and ordered that Debbie Rowe, “who is the mother to at least some of the kids” and singer Diana Ross be notified of the ruling. Ross was named in Michael Jackson’s will as successor guardian.

TJ was also given the authority to hire and fire any staff members at the family compound.