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September 20, 2009

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Ruling clears way for Jackson estate deal

THE attorney for Michael Jackson's mother says a judge's ruling that she can challenge the administrators of her son's estate could result in a deal that will determine control of the singer's gargantuan assets.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff determined in a ruling released on Friday that Katherine Jackson can argue against keeping the men currently administering her son's estate without being disinherited.

She had sought a favorable ruling from Beckloff that she could contest the authority of attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain to guide the pop singer's fortune. The men were named executors of the estate, which could be worth more than US$500 million, in Michael Jackson's 2002 will.

Beckloff's ruling clears the way for further arguments and possibly a hearing on whether these men were best suited to control Jackson's considerable estate. The pair have already brokered deals for a movie, books, museum show and various memorabilia that are expected to generate tens of millions of dollars.

Katherine Jackson's legal team, however, has sought to challenge one or both of the men's authority. A key roadblock was whether a challenge would be deemed a contest to the singer's will. A provision of the singer's private trust - which calls for his mother to receive 40 percent of his assets - calls for anyone that challenges the will to be disinherited.

Attorneys for Branca and McClain did not challenge Katherine Jackson's petition for a ruling.


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