How Michael Jackson is still making headlines: Memorials, Conrad Murray and Bubbles
This week, as he's remembered, the King of Pop is still making headlines in his own right -- as are his fans, his family, his doctor, celebrities who knew him well and those who didn't.
Below, we give you a rundown, an update, on just what is still putting MJ's name into the news. As could be expected, there's the good, the bad and the ugly, with -- naturally -- more to come.
- Fan clubs and groups are currently making their way to the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, Calif., where Jackson's body was laid to rest on July 7 last year. The Associated Press is reporting that some of the organizers of the outing expect around 3,000 roses to be dropped of outside of the private cemetery's gates.
- The day after the anniversary of Jackson's death (June 26), another fan group called VoicePlate has organized a memorial event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, a move that has gotten the endorsement of Jackson's mom Katherine. There will be tribute performances and a guest appearance from Jackson's niece Genevieve. Some proceeds will go to charity.
- Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who last saw Jackson alive, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and has plead not guilty. He was Jackson's last doctor, who claims he was trying to wean Jackson off the powerful sedative propofol, a substance that contributed to the King of Pop's heart failure. The latest news is that Murray is able to keep his California medical license, a decision announced last week. It's suggested it will take months for his trial to begin.
- Jackson's brother Randy was hospitalized for chest pains during last week's hearing. He has since been released. He and other family members have expressed their disappointment with the court's decision to allow Murray to keep his license but insist they trust in the state's judicial system to bring "justice" in the case ultimately.
- Though he died with about a half a billion dollars in debt, Jackson's estate has enjoyed a windfall of profit from his passing. As we reported earlier this week, it's been estimated that movie deals, a record deal, a venture with Cirque du Soleil, his Sony/ATV publishing values,the ilk, have garnered $1 billion in the past year. However, the Wall Street Journal and others have pointed out that a $300 million loan is due at the end of this year, and that fees, lawsuits and other liabilities have chipped away at whatever fortune the family and estate is left with. Jackson's mother's $200 million home, for instance, just barely averted foreclosure.
- Jackson's mother, Katherine, and his children Prince (13), Paris (12) and Blanket (8) were named in the late pop stars will as heirs to his estate. His father, Joe, was not. Katherine remains guardian of the children as Joe has made multiple attempts to have some stake in the estate. He's gone to court for a $15,000/mo. stipend while he's been battling with prosecutors to up the charges against Murray. He's also been trying to broker a deal with the government of hometown Gary, Ind. to make a Graceland-like museum and memorial in town, a costly affair that Jackson lawyers are saying is an unlawful move and exploitation of Joe's son's death. There will be a vigil held in Gary on the 25th.
- Meanwhile, Katherine's lawyer Adam Streisand told the AP that Prince, Paris and Blanket "are seemingly as normal as normal can be under pretty extraordinary circumstances." They live in a gated compound in the San Fernando Valley. Though they have been privately schooled up until now, Katherine has reportedly said that the three will begin attending private school at an undisclosed location started in September.
- The Jackson estate and AEG have put $1.3 million toward the costs associated with Jackson's massive Staples Center memorial held July last year. AEG was also the concert promoter who was to put on his 50-date London This Is It concert stint last year.
- The Animal Planet network has aired a special this week that focused in on LeToya Jackson's reunion with her late brother's beloved chimpanzee Bubbles, who has been living in a sanctuary in Florida.