Joe Jackson Alleges Fraud

What should one do if a mega-successful show biz son died leaving you nothing but a memory? If you’re Michael Jackson’s father you lawyer up and accuse others of trying to con you.

Attorneys representing Joe Jackson filed a 60-page motion late Monday afternoon claiming his son believed two close associates – John Branca and John McClain – defrauded him. The motion also charges both men as having conflicts of interest and asks that they should be removed from administering Jackson’s will.

The elder Jackson’s problem with his son’s will is simple – he wasn’t in it. Sure, MJ gave money to his mother, his own children and several children’s charities, but when it came to taking care of dad, the King of Pop left his own pop out of the picture.

A filing such as this doesn’t land quietly. Howard Weitzman, an attorney representing Branca and McClain, said Jackson’s latest claims were “outrageous.”

“These claims filed by Joe Jackson are so outrageous that they don’t deserve a response,” Weitzman said.

Joe Jackson’s attorney, Brian Oxman, justified his client’s accusations, saying he can challenge the will’s executors as “an interested party who has the right to be an executor or personal representative.”

Included in the filing is a report by New York investigation company Interfor, which was allegedly hired by the performer to investigate any connections Branca may have had with Tommy Mottola when the latter headed Sony Music Entertainment. At one time, Jackson was feuding with Mottola, claiming Sony wanted the moonwalker to fail so the company could take possession of Jackson’s catalog.

The pop star also accused Mottola and Sony of failing to properly promote his album Invincible, claiming the lack of promotion was part of a larger plan to ruin him financially and take his catalog.

But here’s how lawyers see the world. Although Oxman alleges in yesterday’s motion that Michael Jackson believed Branca committed “crimes” including embezzlement and secreting money into offshore accounts, the lawyer said in an interview the accusations may not necessarily be true, but that Michael Jackson believed them to be factual.

“It’s not the truth or falsity of the accusation, “Oxman said. “It’s that Michael Jackson believed it and that’s why he terminated him.”

Branca worked as Jackson’s attorney for 20 years before the singer dismissed him in 2006. Branca returned to work with Jackson shortly before the singer’s June death.
While Interfor’s report didn’t uncover any evil doing by Branca, it did refer to “rumors of irregularities involved in the accounting of legal fees.”

But other than the reported rumors, the report treated Branca pretty well, quoting a employee describing the attorney as “brilliant” and quoted a paralegal as saying “Branca is very quiet, intelligent, shy but lovely with a funny sense of humor.”