THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The question of when and where a public memorial service will be held for Michael Jackson has finally been answered. But how city officials will handle the likelihood of a massive crowd remains to be settled.
A public memorial for the late singer has been set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, according to a press release from the office of the Jackson family’s publicist. A press conference to announce further details was planned for Friday.
Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live, which owns the Staples Center and was Jackson’s promoter, said tickets would be free. He was not sure how they would be distributed.
Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said plans for the memorial are clearly moving forward, but he wished there had been more time to work out the logistics for such a huge event.
“If you can imagine 100,000 people show up and you have 20,000 capacity (at the Staples Center), there is not sufficient room. Now you have a crowd-control problem,” he said. With the July Fourth holiday weekend “it’s the worst time … to work something out.” He also said he’s concerned about the cost of police overtime for the cash-strapped city.
Jackson’s brother Jermaine told Larry King during Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” that there will be a private ceremony for family and some special guests before the public memorial, according to show transcripts.
He added the family wants to have other memorials around the United States.
Meanwhile, the future of Michael Jackson’s children was thrown into question Thursday when his ex-wife emerged and won a delay in a custody hearing while she decides whether she wants to raise her two offspring.
It was the first legal move from Deborah Rowe since the entertainer’s death. Jackson’s will asks for his mother, Katherine, to get permanent custody of all three of his children.
Rowe, who met Jackson as a receptionist in the office of his dermatologist, has characterized their relationship as strictly for the purpose of birthing Jackson children. She is the mother of his two oldest children and received $8.5 million in their divorce, according to court records. His youngest child was conceived with a surrogate.
She has spent very little time with her son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11. But Rowe also has opposed the idea of Katherine Jackson getting custody of her children when it came up in the past.
Rowe’s attorney, Eric M. George, said his client had not decided whether to seek custody.
A guardianship hearing was set for July 13 at the request of attorneys for Rowe and for Katherine Jackson, 79, who has temporary guardianship of her son’s children.
The identity of the surrogate mother of the singer’s youngest child, 7-year-old son Prince Michael II, has never been revealed.
In other developments, there will be another court hearing on Monday to deal with who will take temporary control of Jackson’s estate. He left all his assets to the Michael Jackson Family Trust.
A person familiar with the details of the trust said it would be shared between his mother, who gets 40 percent, his three children, who together get 40 percent, and charities for children, which would receive 20 percent. The charities will be determined later by the trust.
The person was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Authorities also were investigating allegations that the 50-year-old Jackson had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and California Attorney General Jerry Brown both were helping Los Angeles police investigate the possible involvement of prescription drugs in Jackson’s death.
Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood and Beth Harris in Los Angeles and Michele Salcedo in Washington contributed to this story
‘I’m better off dead. I’m done’: Michael Jackson’s fateful prediction just a week before his death
Genetic condition had ruined his lungs and left him unable to sing
He became so skeletal, doctors believed he was anorexic
He had nightmares about being murdered – and wanted to die
He used swine flu as an excuse to avoid coming to England
He thought he was agreeing to 10 concerts – it was 50
Whatever the final autopsy results reveal, it was greed that killed Michael Jackson. Had he not been driven – by a cabal of bankers, agents, doctors and advisers – to commit to the gruelling 50 concerts in London’s O2 Arena, I believe he would still be alive today.
During the last weeks and months of his life, Jackson made desperate attempts to prepare for the concert series scheduled for next month – a series that would have earned millions for the singer and his entourage, but which he could never have completed, not mentally, and not physically.
Ailing: Michael Jackson may have worn a mask in public to protect his diseased lungs
Michael knew it and his advisers knew it. Anyone who caught even a fleeting glimpse of the frail old man hiding beneath the costumes and cosmetics would have understood that the London tour was madness. For Michael Jackson, it was fatal.
I had more than a glimpse of the real Michael; as an award-winning freelance journalist and film-maker, I spent more than five years inside his ‘camp’.
Many in his entourage spoke frankly to me – and that made it possible for me to write authoritatively last December that Michael had six months to live, a claim that, at the time, his official spokesman, Dr Tohme Tohme, called a ‘complete fabrication’. The singer, he told the world, was in ‘fine health’. Six months and one day later, Jackson was dead.
Some liked to snigger at his public image, and it is true that flamboyant clothes and bizarre make-up made for a comic grotesque; yet without them, his appearance was distressing; with skin blemishes, thinning hair and discoloured fingernails.
I had established beyond doubt, for example, that Jackson relied on an extensive collection of wigs to hide his greying hair. Shorn of their luxuriance, the Peter Pan of Neverland cut a skeletal figure