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August 5, 2009

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Jackson's mother gets kids despite doc's objection

THE wishes Michael Jackson expressed in his will began to come into reality on Monday during a lengthy court hearing, with his mother placed firmly in charge of rearing his children and the two men he designated still at the reins of his financial empire.

But Jackson's longtime dermatologist, Arnold Klein, injected some drama inside the courtroom by instructing his attorney to enter objections to the parenting of the late King of Pop's children.

Klein has had a lengthy part in Jackson's life. He served as Jackson's doctor, and one of his employees, Deborah Rowe, married Jackson in 1996 and gave birth to two of the singer's children. Most recently, Klein's medical records have been subpoenaed as part of the police investigation of Jackson's death.

Given tabloid reports that he is the biological father of Jackson's two oldest children, the attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, quickly told the judge that biology wasn't the source of the objections. "Legally, he is not a presumed parent," Kaplan said. Rather, he said Klein knew Jackson and his children well and had concerns about their education and other day-to-day parenting issues.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff quickly dispatched the objections, saying Klein didn't have legal standing.

In a statement issued on Monday evening, Klein's attorneys, Mark Vincent Kaplan and Bradley Boyer, wrote he was not objecting to Katherine Jackson, but rather "acting on promises he made to Michael with respect to assuring the long-term health and stability of the children and their ability to enjoy as normal of a life out of the spotlight as could be reasonably possible."

Katherine Jackson arrived at the courthouse early and entered the courtroom from a back entrance, flanked by daughters LaToya and Rebbie and son Randy.

John Branca, one of the men who Beckloff ruled can continue to administer the singer's estate, sat across the aisle from the Jacksons. Branca served as Jackson's longtime attorney and was named along with music executive John McClain to serve as co-executors of Jackson's will, signed in 2002.

To date, court records show the men have recovered some of Jackson's personal belongings, US$5.5 million in cash, and the singer's life insurance payout, all of which will end up in a private trust account.


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