California appeals court hears arguments from Michael Jackson’s father in estate case

By Anthony Mccartney, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Calif. court hears Jackson dad’s estate appeal

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s father was “grievously wronged” by a probate court that decided last year not to let him try to replace the administrators of his son’s estate, an attorney argued Wednesday.

The arguments by attorney Brian Oxman, who represents Joe Jackson, were heard by a three-judge panel of the California Second District Court of Appeal after a probate judge ruled last November that Joe Jackson did not have standing to intervene in the matter.

The appeals panel did not issue a ruling but did question the legal steps Joe Jackson had taken after being left out of his son’s will and whether the moves warranted revisiting the challenge to the administrators.

Associate Justice Laurie D. Zelon asked why Joe Jackson had withdrawn a petition to receive a monthly stipend from the estate before the probate court had a chance to rule on the request.

Oxman said the petition had seemed duplicative after Joe Jackson filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June against a doctor who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop star.

Attorney Howard Weitzman, who represents the estate, countered that pursuing the stipend petition would allow Joe Jackson to be questioned under oath about various other matters.

Zelon also noted that Oxman hadn’t told the probate court that his client was considering the wrongful death lawsuit.

“I must beg this court’s forgiveness. I must beg the probate court’s forgiveness. The magic words ‘wrongful death’ did not pass my lips,” Oxman said.

Associate Justice Fred Woods questioned why Joe Jackson hadn’t filed a creditor’s claim with the estate, since he has claimed his son supported him financially throughout his life.

Oxman said there was never a contract between Michael Jackson and his father for assistance.

Attorneys for Jackson’s estate reminded the appeals panel that the singer had omitted his father from his will and he was not considered a beneficiary of the estate.

“He is not an heir,” estate attorney Howard Weitzman told the panel in brief remarks.

Attorneys for the singer’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and his three children also argued against Joe Jackson’s petition.

Michael Jackson’s will appointed attorney John Branca and music executive and family friend John McClain to oversee the pop singer’s estate, which has earned tens of millions of dollars since Jackson’s death in June 2009 at age 50.

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