The brewing Jackson custody battle

July 2, 2009 1:45:20 PM PDT
"I want my children." Usually the words of a loving mother.But in this case, they're fighting words from Deborah Rowe. You may not recognize the name, but you probably know who she is. Or, more accurately, what she once was and what she once did.

She was the receptionist for Michael Jackson's dermatologist, who later became the singer's wife and the mother of two of his three kids.

She was paid all kinds of big money and signed all kinds of legal papers giving up her parental rights to the kids. Like so many others, she was basically paid off by Jackson.

But this time it backfired.

She later challenged the agreement - and an appeals court threw out the arrangement in 2006.

Now - she's baaaaaack, despite having been specifically excluded from Jackson's will, which was filed in court Wednesday.

So - now come the tricky questions. Can a mother give up the rights to her child? What will a court rule?

The people fighting this will be Jackson's family, with whom he's had a complicated and troubled relationship. Complicated and troubled - like his life, like pretty much everything involving Michael Jackson.

There are some of you who have written in saying, "enough!" with Michael Jackson.

But this is the Energizer Bunny story - it just keeps on going; every day, a new bizarre development.

We'll have this latest twist tonight at 11, in addition to the new video of Jackson two days before he died - a rehearsal at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he was practicing for his upcoming European tour. He doesn't look like he's at death's door. Far from it.

Also at 11, we'll have some interesting July 4th preps - including controversy in New Jersey, where officials are now warning people not to have roof parties to watch the (newly moved) Macy's fireworks show on the Hudson River. The fine: $1,000 for anyone who is drunk in public or has an open alcoholic beverage container.

Especially "at risk" are folks in Hoboken, who from their rooftops will have great views of the show.

We're also examining the worse-than-expected jobs report. More than 467,000 jobs lost last month, bringing the unemployment rate to 9.5 percent - the highest rate in 26 years.

The raw numbers are better than the 700,000 per month job losses of two quarters ago, but it's still bad. President Obama today admitting the numbers were "sobering news," but insisting that there are continuing signs the recession is slowing.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports, including the Mets' problems at a make-up game in Pittsburgh, where players were kept up last night by the merrymakers at the Furries Convention! I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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