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"G.I." Joe Jackson!

For MJ's parents the battle has just begun

September 23, 2010

Back in the day, action figure G. I. Joe from Hasbro was every little boy's dream toy. (G.I. stands for "Government Issue.") But for all the boys in the Jackson and Carr families--whose mothers were Jehovah's Witnesses--the action figures from the prized toy line were not likely to storm the home since we were all taught that servants of God would not "learn war anymore." (Isa 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-4, New World Translation) Not so with "G.I." Joe.

As a glove-wearing former boxer, Joseph Jackson, the father of Michael Joseph Jackson, was the original "Gloved One." And as far as Michael's death is concerned, "G.I." for Joe means "Gloving Injustice." He wants to knock it out!

Losing Round One: Since Michael's death in June 2009 his estate--by some estimates--has made hundreds of millions of dollars. In a will that Joe, a number of family members and family attorney Brian Oxman call bogus, Michael supposedly excluded his former manager and father. In plain language, this means Joe gets no money and has no say-so.

According to sources close to the issue, John Branca and John McLain may have had a hand in crafting the fake will. In an attempt to recover from this blow below the belt, according to the Associated Press (AP), last November Jabbing Joe "challenged a ruling by a state judge that the estate would be run by attorney John Branca and music executive and family friend John McClain." He lost the round, but the fight is not over.

Action Jackson!: Joe appealed the decision, and as a result, "An appeals court has scheduled a hearing for lawyers for the father of Michael Jackson to argue that he deserves a role in decisions involving his son's multimillion dollar estate." The AP goes on to say, "The Second District Court of Appeal said Thursday the appeal by Joe Jackson would be heard on Oct. 6."

Oxman is quoted as saying: "I think it's an important issue for all fathers around the country and around the world that when their child dies they should have a say-so in their child's estate." So, the parties head back into the ring a week from this Wednesday. Previously, Joe Jackson took action against Dr. Conrad Murray by filing a federal wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the cardiologist was negligent in his care for the pop star.  

Kat Strikes Back: "Michael Jackson's mother sued a concert promoter Wednesday alleging the company failed to provide life-saving equipment and a doctor who was looking out for the pop star's well-being as he prepared for what were intended to be his comeback concerts." (AP) Katherine Jackson filing her own lawsuit? This move surprised a lot of people.

The suit states in part: "AEG's representations to Jackson were false because in reality AEG was merely doing whatever it took to make sure that Michael Jackson could make it to rehearsals and shows and AEG did not provide a doctor who was truly looking out for Jackson's well-being and did not provide equipment."

Michael's mother feels that a cold, dark, callous corporate entity unabashedly sucked the warm, beautiful lifeblood out of her seventh child, and in the process, left a gaping hole in her soul that nothing in this world could ever fill. Still, not being resigned to this fate, she has opted to take the litigious route. But why now? The answer may lie in a recent Witness publication that elucidates a legal posture assumed by Jehovah's Witnesses insofar as litigation not directly connected to their public preaching is concerned.

Although Witnesses had a de facto policy of not engaging the legal system when it came to personal injustices, they no longer assume this posture. The September 2010 issue of Awake! magazine (with an average printing of 38,451,000 in 83 languages), says that in invoking his Roman citizenship, "Paul set a precedent by ‘defending and legally establishing the good news.'-Acts 16:19-24, 35-40; Philippians 1:7."

But with regard to personal matters the article continues by saying that Witnesses "take legal steps to defend themselves." It then states: "Thus, as Christians, the Witnesses rightly take steps to establish certain legal rights." The article came out in September. Katherine sued in September.

While not endorsing any individual lawsuits, Witness leadership recognizes the rights of members to seek legal remedy. Michael's parents are in painful pursuit. The struggle continues. My prayers are with them. Peace and blessings to all. Amen.