Joseph Jackson, singer's father, lobs accusations
AP, Nov 10, 2009 4:00 am PST
LOS ANGELES – On the eve of a hearing in the Michael Jackson estate, a lawyer for the singer's father filed a 60-page motion Monday that intensifies a bid to get money from his son's estate by making accusations of fraud against the administrators of his will.
Joseph Jackson's attorney, Brian Oxman, filed a blizzard of documents in court late Monday claiming that the singer believed his old friends John Branca and John McClain had defrauded him. He also accused both of conflicts of interest and said they should be removed from administering the will..
Joseph Jackson was omitted from his son's will with all of Michael Jackson's assets going to his mother, his children and children's charities..
Howard Weitzman, one of the attorneys representing Branca and McClain, issued a statement Monday night in response to the motion. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday morning..
"These claims filed by Joe Jackson are so outrageous that they don't deserve any response," said Weitzman..
It was unclear whether Joseph Jackson has the legal standing to challenge its provisions..
Oxman said in a phone interview that the father is allowed to challenge the executors as "an interested party who has the right to be an executor or personal representative.".
Most of Oxman's accusations were aimed at Branca, the attorney who represented Jackson for more than 20 years and is seen as the architect of his financial empire. Branca parted ways with Jackson in 2006 and then returned to work with him shortly before the singer died..
Oxman claimed that Jackson believed Branca had committed "crimes" against him including embezzlement and funneling money into offshore accounts. But Oxman acknowledged in the interview Monday night that may not be true..
"It's not the truth or falsity of the accusation," he said. "It's that Michael believed it and that's why he terminated him.".
Branca has said he was not terminated; he resigned because he felt Jackson was being influenced by people who did not have his best interests at heart..
Among the items attached to the motion filed Monday is an undated report from a New York private investigation firm, known as Interfor, allegedly hired by Jackson to investigate Branca and his connections to Tommy Mottola, a music executive with whom Jackson was feuding..
The one page report refers to "rumors of irregularities involved in the accounting of legal fees" but cites no evidence..
Instead, it related finding a former employee who described Branca as "brilliant" and quoted a paralegal as saying "Branca is very quiet, intelligent, shy but lovely with a funny sense of humor.".
Michael Jackson's 2002 will omitted any mention of his father. The two had an often-strained relationship..
Oxman claimed father and son had reconciled and "Michael loved his father."