DEA Joins Jackson Drug Investigation - NBC 10 Philadelphia

DEA Joins Jackson Drug Investigation

Memorial plan begins to take shape; no public event at Neverland

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    The feds have joined the probe of Michael Jackson's death, looking into the late singer's shadowy medical team and the array of drugs he is believed to have been using when he died a week ago.

    The LAPD asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to help sort out what, if any, role drugs played in the singer's death. Jackson, who was 50, reportedly used several drugs, including an anesthetic designed for surgery just to sleep. That drug, Diprivan, a powerful sedative only available to operating room personnel, was reportedly found at Jackson's rented Holmby Hills home.

    The DEA's role is unclear, but the federal agency can provide resources and experience in investigating drug abuse, illicit drug manufacturers known as "pill mills" and substances local police may not be familiar with. Jermaine Jackson, speaking on the "Today" show, said rumors about his brother's drug use are "damaging to the family," but when pressed, could not  rule it out.

    "I would be hurt," Jermaine Jackson told Matt Lauer in an interview at Neverland, the Gloved One's longtime home. "Michael was always concerned about everybody, and to have that kind of weight on your shoulders... I don't know."

    Jermaine Jackson, 54, told Lauer he wished he had died and not Michael, who he compared to Moses.

    "Michael is a gift from Allah and he has taken him back," Jermaine Jackson said.

    He told of going to the hospital and seeing his brother dead.

    "To see him there, lifeless, was very emotional," Jackson said. "I kissed him of the forehead and touched him and said, 'Michael, I'll never leave you.'"

    Meanwhile, after days of confusion about how to honor the late star, plans for a public memorial are beginning to take shape. The Jackson family released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that there would be no public or private viewing at Neverland, though a private ceremony after the funeral could take place.

    But Randy Phillips, President and CEO of AEG Live, the company that owns the Staples Center, said a "memorial service" at the arena was being planned for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7.

    "Details are still to be finalized when I meet with the Jackson family this afternoon," Phillips told KNBC Thursday. "Everything is in preliminary stages except the place and time."

    The Associated Press said billionaire Thomas Barrack, who owns Neverland in a joint venture with Jackson, sought an exemption to bury the singer at the ranch. But the person says it’s a complicated process and it couldn’t be done for a burial this week. Jackson’s body might return to the ranch, either for the private service or a burial sometime in the future, if the family can get the go-ahead from state and local officials.

    Asked about the possibility that Jackson could be cremated and the remains brought to the ranch, a source who talked to The Associated Press said, “That’s not the plan.”

    A report on E! Online said that Jackson's body is being held at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Hollywood Hills, and that is where the family has decided to lay him to rest.

    The stalled plans for his interment come on the heels of Michael Jackson's last will has being filed with the court in Los Angeles. It leaves the singer's children, son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7, in the care of Jackson's mother Katherine, 79. The mother of Jackson's first two children, Debbie Rowe, who was cut out of the will, isn't ruling out a custody challenge, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rowe was married to the singer from 1996-1999.

    Jackson's youngest child was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified.

    The will, dated July 7, 2002, gives his entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. The will names Motown queen Diana Ross as guardian of the kids if his mom can't do the job. It put the value of Jackson's estate at that time at more than $500 million and said it consisted almost entirely of "non-cash, non-liquid assets, including primarily an interest in a catalog of music royalty rights which is currently being administered by Sony ATV, and the interests of various entities."

    Jackson had enormous debts, but also owned lucrative assets, including the Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers, and is estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion.

    Jackson's longtime lawyer John Branca, music exec John McClain and attorney Barry Siegel are named as executors of the will, though Siegel resigned his executorship in 2003.

    "The most important element of Michael's will is his unwavering desire that his mother, Katherine, become the legal guardian for his three children," Branca and McClain said in a statement. "As we work to carry out Michael's instructions to safeguard both the future of his children as well as the remarkable legacy he left us as an artist we ask that all matters involving his estate be handled with the dignity and the respect that Michael and his family deserve."

    Check out Matt Lauers exclusive tour of Jackson's Neverland.

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