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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Janie Hendrix Over Legal Battle

Aired July 24, 2003 - 19:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

COOPER: And as we mentioned we have Janie Hendrix, the singer's stepsister, standing by, also in Seattle. Playing backup is her attorney, John Wilson.
Appreciate both of you joining us as well.

Janie, I don't know if you heard what Leon was saying, but you, you no doubt, you've seen court papers, you know what he is contending. You are in control of the way not only Jimi Hendrix's image is marketed, but the estate. What do you say about his charges?

JANIE HENDRIX, JIMI HENDRIX'S STEPSISTER: Well, basically, Leon's charges are the fact that his relationship with my father in the years of his life, they never saw eye to eye. And consequently, in the end, my father, even though he gave Leon over a million dollars during his lifetime -- and his family -- he just felt that, in his will, that was enough.

COOPER: There -- I guess, Leon and I -- he claims fans have raised questions about the way the image of Jimi Hendrix is marketed. I think we saw a shot of a Web site there a moment ago, and there, you know, there are air fresheners, there are golf galls, there are boxer shorts. Is this what Jimi Hendrix would have wanted?

JANIE HENDRIX: Well, Anderson, I think that Jimi wouldn't want his family feuding. And the fact that Leon is suing our father, I know that Jimi created his music for Dad, and the fact that Dad took care of him through his lifetime. And consequently, Jimi's music was to take care of the family.

In my father's own book, "My Son Jimi," he says that Leon is not his son, and the music is really what it's about. And we protect his music. We put out an album a year. We put out documentaries, in which we won Grammys for. And that's really about what this is about, this is about a relationship between a father and a son that went awry.

COOPER: I don't want to -- I know you say it's about the music. I don't want to keep harping on the air fresheners and the golf balls, but that is certainly part of the legacy that is being marketed. You know, there are those who say, I don't get it, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it seems very un-Jimi Hendrix. Where -- how do you respond to those people who say that?

JANIE HENDRIX: Well, Anderson, Jimi has fans ranging from 10 to 110. And the needs and their desires is basic Econ 101. They ask for certain merchandise, and that's what they get. That's really secondary to what we do. The music is the most important. And keeping his legacy and respecting my father's wishes is what we're responsible for.

COOPER: So all this talk of on Leon's behalf, saying that fans are outraged about how this is being marketed, you think that's not true?

JANIE HENDRIX: I -- absolutely not. I'm very sorry, Anderson. It's not true.

COOPER: John, where does this case go? I mean, I guess you have to defend yourself. Leon is suing you. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where does this thing end up? When is it going to court?

JOHN WILSON, JANE HENDRIX'S ATTORNEY: Well, Anderson, it's scheduled to go to court in October. Leon has asked for a postponement of that.

But really, this case is about respect. Al Hendrix respected Janie Hendrix and the many other family members to whom he left his estate. Sadly, Al lost respect for Leon. When the legacy came back to Al, Al retained a prominent Seattle estate attorney, prepared an estate plan. And Janie had nothing whatsoever to do with that.

Sadly, what Leon is now doing is suing not only to disqualify the will, but he's also suing Al Hendrix, claiming that during Al's lifetime, he interfered with the career of Leon Hendrix.

COOPER: Right. Well, I'm sorry we have to be here talking about this legal stuff. And I'm -- and I'm -- regardless of whose side is right or wrong, it's certainly a tragedy for your family, I'm sure. Janie Hendrix, appreciate you joining us tonight, telling your side, and John Wilson as well. Thanks very much.

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