Michael Jackson’s father declared on Sunday in the strongest terms yet that he and his wife have sole authority over the late pop star’s affairs.
Joe Jackson said in a statement read on the red carpet before he headed into the BET Awards that he and his wife Katherine have the “personal and legal authority to act, and solely .. have authority for our son and his children.”
Joe Jackson, wearing a black fedora and oversized sunglasses, made a surprise appearance at the awards show, which was retooled since Michael Jackson’s death Thursday as a tribute to the entertainer.
The elder Jackson and other relatives have been holed up at the family’s compound in Encino, where fans and media have camped out waiting for information on the pop star’s death and upcoming funeral arrangements.
“There’s no celebration over there,” Joe Jackson told The Associated Press before going into the Shrine Auditorium.
“There’s a lot of fans standing around the building. There’s no celebration at all. It’s very sad,” he said.
Joe Jackson said his grandchildren, two boys and a girl, were his first priority now.
“They’re fine. They’re with us,” he said.
The children know their father has died, he said,
Funeral arrangements were still being made.
Al Sharpton flew into Los Angeles Sunday at the request of Michael Jackson’s brothers to help plan memorials for the singer.
Sharpton said they would like to plan global events paying tribute to the pop star.
Joe Jackson said he hopes people will remember his son as “the greatest star in the world.”
“It’s too bad he had to pass the way like he has,” Joe Jackson said.
In the statement read by Jackson’s publicist on CNN, the family said their attorney L. Londell McMillan is the only person who can speak on their behalf.
McMillan, who accompanied Joe Jackson to the awards show, told CNN a second autopsy on the entertainer’s body is “under way.” He gave no details, only saying the family would have more to say later.
Los Angeles County coroner’s officials completed their autopsy on Jackson Friday and said there was no indication of trauma or foul play. But because of additional tests, an official cause of death could take weeks to determine.