LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson's family moved quickly yesterday to take control of his complicated personal and financial affairs, winning temporary custody of his three children and asking a judge to name his mother as administrator of his estate.
In documents filed in Superior Court, Jackson's parents said they believe their son, 50, who died Thursday, did not have a valid will.
They also made clear they believe they should both take charge of his debt-ridden but potentially lucrative financial empire and be the permanent caretakers of his children.
Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted Katherine Jackson, 79, temporary guardianship of the children: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, known as Prince Michael; Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7. He did not immediately rule on her requests to take charge of the children's and Jackson's estates.
Beckloff scheduled a hearing for next Monday and another for Aug. 3 to consider those issues and whether Katherine Jackson should be named permanent guardian.
L. Londell McMillan, the family's attorney, said the Jacksons were pleased with the results of their filings.
Also yesterday, a Los Angeles County coroner's official said medications had been retrieved from Jackson's rented mansion. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter and other investigators emerged from the home bearing two large plastic bags.
Winter said the team went to retrieve medications because of information developed by a police investigation, along with questions the coroner's office had. He would not say what types of medications were retrieved or the quantity, nor where in the home they were found.
In another development, Matt Alford, an attorney for Jackson's doctor, said it took up to a half-hour for paramedics to be called after Jackson collapsed at his home. Alford said the delay was partly because Jackson's room in the mansion lacked a phone and because Conrad Murray, the doctor, didn't know the street address to give to emergency crews. Alford said Murray was performing CPR on Jackson while awaiting help.
The Jackson family said the pop star's children, whom he was raising, were living at the family compound in the San Fernando Valley.
"They have a long established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care," the family said in court documents.
Family patriarch Joe Jackson, 79, said at a news conference that the children were enjoying playing with other youngsters - something they have not normally done.
The two older children were born to Jackson's former wife Deborah Rowe, and the court documents said her whereabouts were unknown. The youngest was born to an unidentified surrogate; the documents listed "none" for the boy's mother.
The Jacksons say they have not heard from Rowe since their son's death. But an attorney for Rowe, Eric George, said yesterday that she was considering whether to seek custody or continued visitation rights. He said she wanted what was best for the children and would decide within several days how to respond to Katherine Jackson's petition, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A will, which might spell out Jackson's wishes for his children and estate, has not turned up.
Jackson's father said his son's funeral was still being planned. "It will be some private, but not closed all the way down to the public," he said without elaborating.
He said his son would not be buried at Neverland Ranch, the sprawling playground he built, then abandoned after going into seclusion following his 2005 acquittal on child-molestation charges.
Joe Jackson also used the news conference to plug a record company he said he was founding with a partner.
His son, who had not released a new recording or performed publicly in years, was believed to be hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Joe Jackson could potentially re-release his son't recording catalog through his new company if the family gains control of his assets.
Michael Jackson finished an elaborate video production two weeks before he died, the Associated Press has learned.
The five-week project filmed at Culver Studios, which is dubbed "Dome Project," could be the final finished video piece overseen by the King of Pop.
Two people with knowledge of the project confirmed its existence to the AP on the condition that they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.
Four sets were constructed, including a cemetery recalling Jackson's "Thriller" video.
The project is in post-production and is expected to be completed July 15.
It was produced by Robb Wagner, founder of music-video company Stimulated Inc. A message left for Wagner was not immediately returned.
- Associated Press