Ferdaus Shamim/Getty Images, Axel/ ZumaPress.com
Ferdaus Shamim/Getty Images, Axel/ ZumaPress.com
Tito Jackson has bowed out of at least one part of his family's increasingly complex conflict.
"I completely retract my signature from the July 17th letter sent to the Executors of my brother's Michael's estate and repudiate all the claims made against them. I don't want any part of that letter whatsoever," the second-oldest Jackson brother said in a statement released by a rep for the estate.
Tito had previously joined brothers Jermaine and Randy and sisters Janet and Rebbie in demanding that estate executors John Branca and John McClaine resign immediately, charging that their late brother's will, which appointed them executors, was a fake.
But that doesn't mean Tito's branch of the family is retreating to the shadows.
T.J. Jackson, Tito's son, is planning to seek temporary guardianship of Michael's children, 15-year-old Prince, 14-year-old Paris and 10-year-old Blanket, and a source tells E! News that the kids are in favor of the proposed arrangement.
Family matriarch Katherine Jackson has been her grandchildren's legal guardian since Michael's death in 2009, as per the instructions left in his will—which also, memorably, stated that he wanted pal Diana Ross to care for his kids in case anything prevented his mother from doing so.
Katherine has been in Arizona with family members since last week, at first leading to reports that she was missing before the L.A. County Sheriff's Department confirmed just yesterday that she was safe and sound. Her grandkids haven't heard from her in over a week, however, as evidenced by Paris' increasingly frantic-sounding tweets.
Sources say that the 82-year-old should be returning to L.A. sometime this week, after which proceedings to remove her as legal guardian will get underway.
In her absence, all sorts of drama has gone down at the family compound in Calabasas, Calif.
Yesterday, sheriff's deputies responded to a call about a physical altercation on the premises between two members of the Jackson family—but not between Paris and her aunt Janet Jackson, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms.
Sandra Ribera, one of Katherine's attorneys, told E! News this morning that Janet, Randy and Jermaine Jackson showed up at the house in an attempt to get Paris, Prince and Blanket to go with them.
"Following the incident, it was learned that one of the family members who was part of the ambush admitted that a plan has been in place for the last three years to remove Katherine Jackson from her home and her beloved grandchildren," Ribera said.
Meanwhile, Randy told the Rev. Al Sharpton tonight in a phone interview on MSNBC's PoliticsNation that he and his two siblings went to the house to set the record straight with their nephews and niece.
"We did go to the home to let Paris and Prince know that they can visit with or talk to their grandma at any time because we felt that someone was trying to twist the story and make it feel as though we were the problem, denying them access to their grandma," Randy said. "When we got to the home, we were kind of denied access to our home by security and trench and that never happened. This is all an effort to try to deflect attention away from a letter that was written asking for the resignation of John Branca and John McClain."
"We feel that there is criminal misconduct on their part and that our brother, Michael, was not what they said he was when the day that the will was signed and in fact he did not sign that will," Randy said.
The King of Pop's brother insisted to Sharpton that Michael could not have been with the executors on the day they claim he signed his will, that he was in New York with Randy when the will was supposedly notarized in Los Angeles.
"What it proves that the will is fake and he cannot be in two places at one time," Randy insisted.
Randy went on to say Branca and McClain are "using the children to try and put pressure on my mom to try and come out and get her to say things in their favor, to kind of clean up their image. They know that they have been caught, they know that they falsified the document. And they know that there are questions that we want answered."
And, Randy added, the Jackson family isn't as divided as looks would have it.
"This family is united to right a wrong," he said. "The question that we want answered, but what they are trying to do, is trying to put the attention on something else when the attention is on this letter for us. We want answers and our questions have not been answered."
"This is not about money for us," Randy added, addressing the $86,000 a month that Katherine now gets from her late son's estate to care for Prince, Paris and Blanket. "This is not about being left out of a will, or a fight over the children. This is about a family that has questions, that has lost a family member and we feel that the evidence is right there and that my brother was not in Los Angeles from the day that they swore on that will that he was. He was in New York. So, therefore, the will is fake."
Even Paris may be feeling a little more at ease.
"A lot of ppl have been saying that i 'changed' …i wanna apologize for the attitude… there's just a lot going on… i promise: the ego = gone(:" she tweeted this evening.