Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Jackson Memorial Plans Revealed; Norm Coleman Concedes; Michael Jackson's Will Found
Aired June 30, 2009 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news about Michael Jackson. Memorial plans revealed.
We have brand new information about the final tributes to the pop star, as fans line up to honor Jackson at New York's Apollo Theater. We are following that event live.
Plus, Jackson's will uncovered. This hour, veteran entertainment reporters tell us what they have learned about his finances and about the investigation into his death.
And new violence mars a cause for celebration in Iraq. U.S. troops complete their pullback from key cities and towns, and President Obama marks the historic moment.
Wolf Blitzer's off. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Well, you could call it Michael Jackson's final farewell tour, and it is really just beginning. Right now, adoring crowds, they are gathered at the New York's Apollo Theater to honor the "King of Pop."
Now, these are pictures from CNN's affiliate, WABC. The line to get inside is about 10 blocks long. Once inside, the crowds will share a moment of silence.
And we're going to bring that to you live.
Just a short while ago, we learned about plans for Jackson's memorial service and a public viewing of his body.
CNN's Kara Finnstrom is beginning our breaking news coverage.
What can you tell us?
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, you can see some of the fans gathering just behind me here. Many of them coming up here are just now hearing the news that Michael Jackson's body will be brought back here to Neverland. And, of course, asking us for the details about that.
Here is what CNN has learned.
Late Thursday morning, Michael Jackson's body will be brought from the Los Angeles area back here to Santa Barbara via motorcade. And we are told this will be a motorcade of 30 or more cars.
We are talking about a distance here of about 130 miles, so a lot of planning that is under way right now for this, traffic issues, security issues. And we understand law enforcement is trying to iron all of that out.
We've also learned that on Friday, a public viewing of Michael Jackson's body will be held here. And on Sunday, a private memorial service will be held for the family.
Now, this community is a very remote, private community, if you will. A lot of big-time ranchers live out here, some Hollywood types as well. They really value the privacy they have here, and news of this really hasn't gone over too well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY DEFRANCO, RESIDENT: I don't think that it would benefit our community at all. We have a lot of unspoiled territory, and one of them is Foxen Canyon, out where Neverland Ranch is. And it's a two-lane road and then it goes back into the wilderness. So, I think that traffic would be detrimental.
PATRICK RAND, BUSINESS OWNER: You know, this is a very small town. There's hardly, as you can see right now, in the middle of the day, there's hardly anybody walking the streets. So, when there is a lot of people, it impacts the community. But I would think as a businessperson, I would benefit from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINNSTROM: And there are some businesspeople like that man there who say they are going to start planning for this influx of people.
Now, Suzanne, we should also mention, we haven't heard anything yet about burial plans or a final resting place for Jackson. That also very much up in the air. But again, starting on Thursday, his body will be brought back here, and then there will be a series of -- you know, first the public viewing, and then a private memorial service taking place through the weekend.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
MALVEAUX: Want to go to Brianna Keilar who's following breaking news at this very moment regarding the Minnesota Senate race.
Brianna, what do you have? I understand it's a major development here.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We understand, Suzanne that former senator Norm Coleman has just conceded a really long and hard-fought race to Al Franken. And actually, we have some new sound, so let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORM COLEMAN (R), FMR. SENATOR: And I told him it's the best job that he will ever have, representing the people of the state of Minnesota in the United States Senate.
Ours is a government of laws, not men and women. And the Supreme Court of Minnesota has spoken. I respect its decision, and I will abide by its result.
It is time for Minnesotans to come together under the leaders it has chosen and move forward. And I join all Minnesotans is congratulating our newest United States senator, Al Franken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: So, this coming, of course, Suzanne, months after that November election, but the latest development being that former senator Norm Coleman has conceded this race to Al Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court said its word about who the race belonged to.
We're going to continue to follow this and bring you the latest details -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And Brianna, obviously an important development when you think about all of this. This has been such a closely watched race, and it really will determine whether or not some of the president's agenda will be able to get passed, if it has a filibuster- proof majority of the Democrats.
I want to bring in our own Candy Crowley.
You can explain this better than anybody here. Obviously, this was a very important concession from Coleman because it puts Al Franken in place. What does that mean in terms of the outlook, the body of Congress, and then the president's agenda?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it looks better for Democrats and it looks worse for Republicans, let's face it. I mean, when you get to that 60 mark.
However, we should say, first of all, two of the 60 are Independent senators. Second of all, all Democrats are not equal. At this point, you have Democratic senators from the Midwest. They are not all for cap and trade, as we call it, the pollution controls. You have Northeast Democrats who are in favor.
So, it's a lot easier and it is possible to get that 60 filibuster-proof number, but it's no guarantee, by any means.
MALVEAUX: OK. Candy, we are going to get back to you shortly, a little bit more details about this.
We are also going to take you back to obviously developments in the Michael Jackson story, a brand new accounting of Jackson's wealth. The Associated Press says it obtained financial documents showing that Jackson claimed a net worth of $236 million in late March of 2007. Now, a will written by Jackson several years earlier has now surfaced.
Our CNN's Don Lemon, he is in Los Angeles.
You've been following all of this. Obviously, a lot of information coming in today about what Michael Jackson's intentions were and what happens from here.
What have you learned, Don?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have learned that that will was drafted back in 2002 -- 2002, Suzanne. And it was drafted by Michael Jackson's attorney. His name is John Branca. He served as the attorney from 1980 to 2006.
Now, reportedly, this will lists John Branca as the executor, and also veteran music executive John McClain as an executor, I should say, of that will. And according to our sources here, this will was drafted by Michael Jackson in 2002 and divides the singer's estate among his mother, three children and then more charities. So -- but again, that was 2002.
Just a short time ago, just about an hour ago, I spoke by telephone with the new Jackson attorney. His name is L. Londell McMillan. And he says that after he and Katherine Jackson went to court yesterday to get Michael Jackson -- to get Mrs. Jackson to become the administrator of Michael Jackson's assets, that this new will popped up.
He had a chance to look at it this morning, but said he wasn't at liberty to share with me everything in that will. But again, he is acknowledging that there is a will, but saying that this is one will. This is one will. There could be others, and he is glad that this one has come to light, at least it helps him trying to figure out exactly where to go with Michael Jackson's assets.
So he's saying, Suzanne, the last couple of days have been very good for Katherine Jackson legally, because not only did she get temporary guardianship of his children, she has also gotten to where she is going to be the executor, at least temporary authority in where his assets will go.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Don. It could become more complicated though if there are other wills.
LEMON: It will become more complicated. It will become more complicated. This is only the beginning -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you so much, Don.
And one of the most memorable features of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch was the private zoo. It was stocked with a variety of exotic creatures.
When Jackson ran into financial troubles, many of those animals were relocated. Now, Jackson's high-profile companion, Bubbles, the chimp, was also sent away. We are told that Bubbles now lives at a center for great apes in Florida.
Some of Jackson's tigers now call a refuge in east Texas home. Two others named Thriller and Sabu (ph) live at a California preserve owned by former movie star Tippi Hedren.
We are learning a lot more about Michael Jackson's final days before his death. A full report ahead, including the reason Jackson gave some people chills.
Now time for "The Cafferty File." And Jack joining us out of New York.
Jack, what are you watching? What are you following?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor have some new ammunition now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters who claimed reverse discrimination in New Haven, Connecticut, and eventually won. The high court said New Haven was wrong to scrap their promotional exam because no blacks and only two Hispanic firefighters would have been promoted.
It's a case that could change employment practices around the country, eventually make it harder to prove discrimination. And it's a bit of an embarrassment for the Obama White House since the president's Supreme Court nominee had earlier ruled against these firefighters.
All this comes just a couple of weeks before Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings begin. Republicans say the Supreme Court decision raises issues about her ability to serve on the high court. They say they will use this ruling, along with her 2001 comment -- you remember that -- about a wise Latina woman to question her views on discrimination. But supporters of Sotomayor say the ruling actually prove that she has restraint and is unwilling to go beyond established case law, because the panel on which she sat upheld a lower district court judge in this case.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling split also gives the justice cover. The White House insist there is little political significance to the court's decision when it comes to Sotomayor.
I guess we'll find out the answer as to whether or not there is in a couple of weeks.
Here is the question: How will the Supreme Court's reversal of the decision by Sonia Sotomayor affect her chances of confirmation?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right, Jack. Thank you so much.
Well, she is the mother of two of Jackson's children, but she has been conspicuously absent from the hoopla after the pop star's death. Will Debbie Rowe be a factor in the legal battles ahead? A veteran entertainment reporter is standing by to tell us what he knows. Plus, South Carolina's governor reveals that his extramarital affair was not the first time he crossed lines. Do Americans think that is reason for Mark Sanford to call it quits?
And street battles in Honduras, as the ousted president pleads with world leaders to help him get his job back. Should President Obama be getting involved?
MALVEAUX: South Carolina's governor admitted that he cheated on his wife and lied, but did he abuse his power? Well, that's what the state's attorney general wants to know.
He has opened up the first formal probe into whether Mark Sanford broke any laws or used state funds in his affair. Now, in a statement, Sanford denies that and he says he looks forward to this investigation, but meanwhile, the scandal grows.
Sanford has told The Associated Press that he crossed lines with more women but didn't have sex with them, that his Argentinean mistress is his soul mate, but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife.
Well, let's bring in our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria, you know, I found some of these comments kind of surprising, even shocking.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MALVEAUX: What is the reaction here? Is he digging himself even deeper?
BORGER: Oh, I think he is. I think what we may be watching is the self-destruction of a politician who seems to be engaging in some kind of public therapy at the expense of, some would say, his political career, and certainly at the expense of his marriage.
What we learned is that there were five meetings, two of them in New York which we didn't know about. We learned about other women with whom he said he never crossed the sexual line. But, you know, clearly, this is something that's going to have people scratching their heads and asking themselves whether, in fact, Mark Sanford has the judgment to remain as the governor of the state.
MALVEAUX: And you wrote a very good column. I want to read a portion of it on CNN.com about the wife.
You say, "Jenny Sanford has shifted the paradigm of the political wife. Faced with infidelity, she did not stand by her man literally or any other way."
Does this help or hurt him? Does it even matter?
BORGER: Well, I think it hurts him. Some would argue that if Hillary Clinton had not stood by Bill Clinton, that he would not have remained as president of the United States during the Lewinsky scandal.
What she has done is essentially said, look, I still love him, I still value our marriage, I might even take him back. But what she has done is something a lot of other political wives have not done, and that is she has actually told the truth.
She has said this is how this happened, I discovered this affair five months ago. We learned that he asked permission to go see his mistress again, which was kind of stunning to me. And she told him no.
She tells us that's why she didn't know where he was when everybody was kind of playing "Where's Waldo?" with Mark Sanford, trying to figure out where he was for those -- for that week. And so, she is somebody who said, by the way, when it all got to be too much for me to bear, we did counseling, I threw him out.
And that is something that I think women can understand and believe it to be the real story and the truth. So she has kind of backed away from him, hasn't thrown him overboard, but she's backed away.
MALVEAUX: And we'll see if the truth works for him as well in these latest disclosures.
BORGER: We'll see.
MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Gloria.
The scandal is hurting many people's opinions of the governor.
Let's bring in our CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.
And tell us what the polls are saying, showing about Governor Sanford at this point.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're showing that opinions about the private behavior of public officials have changed.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Should he resign? Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina is wrestling with that question.
GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You take everything a day at a time. I wouldn't say anything definitive at this point.
SCHNEIDER: Voters across the country have been following this story. Do they think Sanford should resign? According to the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, yes, 54 percent.
JENNY SANFORD, WIFE OF GOVERNOR SANFORD: His career is not a concern of mine. He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children.
SCHNEIDER: Do men and women have different views? No. Both think he should resign.
GINA SMITH, "THE STATE" NEWSPAPER: I think we will quickly see a move from everyone expressing sorrow over the situation to some lawmakers moving for the governor's impeachment.
SCHNEIDER: Sanford is a Republican. Do Democrats and Republicans nationwide have different views? No. Both think he should resign.
The public was not as harsh in its judgment of Bill Clinton 10 years ago.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.
SCHNEIDER: In 1999, when President Clinton was on trial in the Senate, only 21 percent of Americans felt an adulterer lacks the character to hold public office. Times were good. President Clinton's behavior did not seem to interfere with his ability to do the job.
Governor Sanford's did. He disappeared for five days. And times are bad.
JAKE KNOTTS (R), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATE: He is going to have to decide whether he has the time to work with the problems that South Carolina has with our schools and our unemployment and jobs.
SCHNEIDER: Now the public is split over whether an adulterer should hold high office. Times have changed.
SCHNEIDER: That last poll should have been 50/50, the split over whether an adulterer should be qualified to hold public office.
Now, Governor Sanford wrote to his supporters that his story could follow two different scripts. One, a scandal and the end of office. The other, what he called a fall from grace followed by renewal and rebuilding and growth. He is trying to follow the second script -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Bill. We'll see how that works.
Well, there are dueling accounts of whether Michael Jackson was the picture of health in the final days before his death or worn down and frail. We are piecing it all together.
We are also standing by to bring you live coverage of a tribute to Michael Jackson at the Apollo Theater. Crowds are lining up to take part in a moment of silence.
MALVEAUX: We are approaching 30 days since Air France Flight 447 mysteriously crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. Now, this could have implications on the recovery of the plane's flight recorder, which is only guaranteed to transmit for one month.
Our Abbi Tatton is here with us with an update.
Abbi, what is the investigation showing you?
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, in terms of the search effort, trying to recover the bodies, that's now been abandoned as of this last weekend. Search teams operating in this vast area off the coast of Brazil had recovered 51 bodies. That's of a total of 228 passengers aboard this flight.
They recovered 600-plus pieces of the plane, pieces of luggage. But after this search effort had gone for eight or nine days without sighting another piece of debris, the Brazilian military decided to call this off. However, French teams are still in the area and they are still looking for these black boxes.
MALVEAUX: So what are the chances of actually finding a black box?
TATTON: It's just getting harder and harder each day. The clock is really running out at this point.
They have this battery-operated device on them, a locator device, and it's required to operate for just 30 days. And that's where we are right now.
We talked to former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz today. He said that they could probably emit a signal for another seven to 10 days. But based on all the other factors, the underwater terrain, the depth, the massive search area, this is really becoming insurmountable.
We do know though that the French investigators are giving a press conference and their initial report on Thursday. So we'll look to that for more details.
MALVEAUX: Look for more details.
OK. Thank you so much, Abbi.
Some people who saw Michael Jackson in the final days of his life say the pop star put on a performance that gave them chills. We're looking into varying accounts of his health at the very end.
And she is the mother of two of Jackson's children. Does Debbie Rowe have any plans to get involved in their lives now? A veteran entertainment reporter who spoke with Rowe is standing by.
MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, the mother of two of Jackson's children is speaking out. Jackson's mother has custody of all of the children, but what might Debbie Rowe think of that?
I'll speak with a reporter who has spoken to her.
Plus, a musical icon's financial relationship with musical icons. Jackson's co-owned rights to a vast Beatles' catalog possibly worth billions, but what might happen to that catalog now?
And now that Iranian officials declare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the official victor of the presidential election, will protesters accept it?
We'll have the latest on Iran.
I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now, it is show time at the Apollo. A farewell tribute to Michael Jackson is under way. Let's take a listen.
MALVEAUX: You're seeing pictures there, live pictures of Reverend Al Sharpton singing one of the favorite Michael Jackson songs. And the audience singing right along with him.
Fans and friends will pause for a moment of silence at the time of Jackson's death last Thursday, 5:26 p.m. Eastern. And we are going to bring that to you live as well.
Now, we are learning more about the king of pop's final days rehearing for his comeback.
Our Brian Todd has been looking into that.
And, obviously, a lot of people curious about this, because some people thought he was healthy. Other people saw some warning signs.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There are some conflicting accounts, Suzanne.
As he geared up for that concert series, one that he counted on for his professional salvation, those who saw Michael Jackson in those final days give varying accounts of his health and his emotional strength.
TODD (voice-over): A producer who watched Michael Jackson's last rehearsal and spoke with him the night before he died tells CNN Jackson was energetic, excited about his upcoming concert series, and even popped his signature moonwalk and spins that gave chills to the few people in the seats.
Another witness that night, Jackson friend Miko Brando, said he saw nothing out of the ordinary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
MIKO BRANDO, SON OF MARLON BRANDO/FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Went up on stage, danced with the dancers. He -- he did some -- some songs. He -- he -- he did his routine. He -- he gave the crew some technical advice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Jackson manager Frank DiLeo was also there on the last night, says Jackson came off stage, put his arm around him, and talked about how great he felt to be performing again.
DiLeo told a radio interviewer, Jackson had the energy for the upcoming shows, but he said they did discuss tweaking the grueling two-hour format.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANK DILEO, MANAGER FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: We were going to do one of two things. We were either going to do so much in the beginning, take a half-hour break, then come back, you know, and -- and do the second half of the shows. Or we were going to cut it down to 90 minutes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: Others describe a ferocious production pace in those final weeks. And in virtually the same breath as they recall his energy and vitality, witnesses also talk about Jackson being frail. And his doctor's attorney give other details.
EDWARD CHERNOFF, ATTORNEY FOR DR. CONRAD MURRAY: Michael Jackson didn't eat very much. He -- he really didn't drink very much. He didn't hydrate very well. When he rehearsed, it was very strenuous exercise.
TODD: Edward Chernoff says Jackson asked for Dr. Conrad Murray to stay at his house the night before he died, which Dr. Murray did. But Chernoff says Jackson still never complained of chest pains or anything else that would suggest a heart condition.
Suzanne, this is the kind of thing we're going to be learning more about in the coming days.
MALVEAUX: And, Brian, you actually talked to one of the producers, who said that...
MALVEAUX: ... there were even more projects that were in the works in the -- in the weeks and months to come?
TODD: That's right.
This was a producer who worked with Michael Jackson on some major awards shows. He said that they had basically finalized a deal for Jackson to do a TV special if the fall. He said the -- the show was Jackson's idea.
He said they basically had a network in place to do this. He didn't want to give any more details, since the events have trans -- transpired the way they have. But he said that that was in place and it might have been part of his comeback.
MALVEAUX: So, he had some big projects that were ahead?
TODD: He did.
TODD: He had big plans.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, Brian.
MALVEAUX: A lot of questions right now about the mother of two of Jackson's children, Debbie Rowe, and what role, if any, she may play in their future.
Well, joining us now is veteran entertainment reporter Roger Friedman. He's the editor of showbiz411.com.
Roger, thank you so much for being here with us in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ROGER FRIEDMAN, EDITOR, SHOWBIZ411.COM: Thank you.
FRIEDMAN: I just wanted to tell you, I was watching that. I actually know what that project is, this...
MALVEAUX: Well, tell us.
FRIEDMAN: ... that was set up for the fall...
MALVEAUX: Tell us.
FRIEDMAN: ... because we are reporting it tonight on showbiz411.com.
Michael met -- Michael and Frank DiLeo met with Ken Ehrlich, who is the producer of the Grammy Awards.
And they were setting up a Halloween special for NBC. And they were going to take Michael's -- the film he had made a few years -- many years ago called "Ghost," which was a Halloween film. And they were putting a whole special together. Michael was very excited about it.
I have talked to Ken Ehrlich, and I have talked to a lot of people who, you know, knew what was happening. And they finalized the deal. And it was really -- it was going to be terrific.
So, he really had a lot of things to look forward to. And I -- I sort of -- I -- I have been really shocked by all these terrible reports on TMZ and other places saying that Michael Jackson wanted to die, and he was better off dead and all this crazy stuff.
He had absolutely no interest in dying. He expected to live and be with his children and do specials like this. And I have never seen more disinformation in one news cycle than this one, maybe since Elvis Presley died.
MALVEAUX: And -- and can you tell us a little bit more about the special? Was it with his family? Was he going to be with other Jackson members? Or...
FRIEDMAN: No, no, no, no. And this idea -- you know, Michael did not really care for his brothers that much. He didn't want to perform with his brothers ever again.
This was something he was doing on his own, just like the concert in London. And he was very eager. And he did say the night -- and, also, there have been a lot of mistakes. These pictures that are being shown everywhere were taken the night before he died, not two nights before he died. So, it was -- they are really right before he died.
And you can see he looked great. He was dancing and singing. And everybody I spoke to from that rehearsal -- I had spoken to people that morning, before Michael died, who called in and said: "Oh, we had a great rehearsal last night. It's the best show I have ever seen."
I mean, people were very excited. So, whatever happened, I think, is going to turn out to be some kind of terrible accident, and certainly not anything that Michael wanted to do.
But I -- I am -- I am really chagrined to see all these crazy reports, you know, the -- I mean, ominous death -- you know, that he was predicting his own death. It is crazy.
MALVEAUX: Did you have any conversations with -- with Michael Jackson recently in your own reporting about these projects that he was working on or how excited he was about it?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I didn't talk to Michael directly. But all the people who are directly associated with him, for the last few weeks, you know, he and I have been communicating.
And, you know, in the past, I had been very critical of the people who had been around Michael in my columns. And a new group had come in that were very good, actually. And, so, I had been reporting that. And I knew that Michael was pleased that I was reflecting that. He had really sort of gotten himself together in the last few weeks.
And it was great to see, after, you know, a couple years of bad stuff.
And you also spoke with Debbie Rowe. Let's talk about that conversation that...
MALVEAUX: ... you had recently.
When -- when was the last time you spoke with Debbie Rowe? And -- and what did she say about -- what's her own demeanor, her own reaction to what has happened?
FRIEDMAN: I -- let me -- let's clear this up. And I hope everyone in the world hears this, because I spoke to Debbie a couple of days ago. I spoke to her right after Michael passed away. Then, I spoke to her a couple of days ago.
She is in mourning. She's very -- been very upset. She's -- she loved Michael. They were great friends. She was the mother of those children. I saw reports today saying that she wasn't the mother of the children. It's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
She was the mother of the children. And she is very respectful. She loves Katherine Jackson. They have a great relationship. And she is waiting. Her -- Debbie's plan was to wait until after the funeral and talk to Katherine about what they were going to do about custody or visitation or anything.
And that is her attitude. Her attitude is that she wants to be respectful of Katherine. She doesn't want to frighten the children. She is a great girl. And she originally had these children simply in a situation with Michael. They were married. You know, I have seen reports saying that Michael didn't adopt the children.
Well, he didn't have to adopt them. He was married to Debbie. So, there's a lot of misinformation going on. And I'm trying to clear a lot of it up now on showbiz411.com.
MALVEAUX: So, when you talked to -- to Debbie Rowe, did she tell you that she was interested in being involved in the children's lives?
FRIEDMAN: I think she would like to be. And I think she would like to -- she doesn't -- she -- the one thing she doesn't want to do is frighten them.
She knows that they were very close to Michael. He was a great father. And she wants -- she wants to wait until Michael is buried and the children have adjusted to what's happened. And she will -- then, she will talk to Katherine Jackson.
And, as I reported today -- and this is important -- Katherine is named in the will as the guardian of the children. She didn't have to go to court yesterday to become the guardian. Michael had already made her the guardian.
And that is something -- that is a big deal.
FRIEDMAN: So, it is already set in a will. The will is going to be filed probably tomorrow or the next day. And then we will...
MALVEAUX: Well, have you seen this will? Roger, have you seen the will? Can you tell us what -- what else you know about it?
FRIEDMAN: I haven't seen the will, but -- yet, but I will see it soon, I hope, and we will all see it.
And my sources are very good on this subject. And the will is very solid. It was drawn up by a terrific attorney who is a very respected attorney in Hollywood. So, it's going to -- it's going to stand.
And what happens -- the guardianship will be something that they are going to work out, I think, and it's going to be fine.
MALVEAUX: Do you know anything about the -- the assets, Michael Jackson's assets, regarding the will?
FRIEDMAN: Oh, I know -- well, regarding the will?
I mean, the children are the basic beneficiaries. The three children are the basic beneficiaries. And a -- a large provision was made for Michael's mother, from what I'm told, until she passes away. She is 79 years old.
And that's pretty much it. And I think that there is also a provision for creating a charity or a foundation in Michael's memory. Probably, it will be for children or something like that.
MALVEAUX: Is there any portion of the estate...
FRIEDMAN: But, basically...
MESERVE: ... that will go to either Joe Jackson or any of Jackson's siblings, or it's strictly his mother and the children?
FRIEDMAN: It is -- it's pretty much the mother and the children.
There may be, like, small bequests. We haven't seen that yet, you know, various small things. But, basically, Joseph Jackson's not going to get anything. Joseph Jackson came to the BET Awards on -- the other night, on Sunday night, with a Michael Jackson imitator. Michael did not care for his father. He talked about the abuse that he suffered at his father's hands in various television interviews. It's not a surprise that he didn't leave anything to his father.
And it's kind of interesting, I think, that, when Katherine Jackson moved the other day to get guardianship and also to take over the estate, she did it on her own, and not with her estranged husband.
MALVEAUX: Did Debbie...
FRIEDMAN: So, I think it is fairly clear in that family.
And did Debbie Rowe, she express any concern about that, the fact that, if -- if children are in custody with Katherine Jackson, that they would also have exposure to Joe Jackson, this -- the -- the alleged abuse of Joe Jackson?
FRIEDMAN: She -- she didn't say -- she didn't say anything about that. And -- but I really don't think that is an issue.
They -- the Jacksons have not lived together for years. He lives in Las Vegas, and she lives in Encino. They get together for public outings. He said the other night on TV they recently had their 60th anniversary, and it was the first time they had ever had an anniversary party.
So, I -- I don't think it is an issue that they spend a lot of time together. They just do it in -- in times of public conflict.
MALVEAUX: And -- and, before I let you go, I just want to circle back.
You said that Debbie Rowe said she didn't necessarily want -- want to frighten the children. When is the last time that she saw the children? What is her relationship with those kids?
FRIEDMAN: You know, I can't say for sure when the last time was, but I believe it was in 2006.
It was in the -- I believe it was in the summer of 2006, from -- I looked back at my old columns to try and figure it out. But, basically, Michael's been -- Michael was away for a long time. When the child molestation trial was over in June 2005, he left almost immediately for Bahrain.
The children were sent back that summer for two weeks to see Debbie, actually, and that may have been the last time she saw them. And then they were in Bahrain with him. They were in Ireland.
MALVEAUX: OK. OK.
FRIEDMAN: They moved around quite a lot.
MALVEAUX: All right.
Roger Friedman, thank you so much for your insights. Really appreciate it.
FRIEDMAN: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
A very special tribute to Michael Jackson -- fans gathered at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York. And they will honor the king of pop with a moment of silence. We are going to bring that to you live.
Iraqis are celebrating, now that U.S. troops have completed a pullback from certain cities and towns -- ahead, why President Obama is keeping his celebration in check.
MALVEAUX: The world is witnessing the handover of security functions in Iraq's cities and towns from U.S. troops to Iraqi troops. But some worry if Iraqi troops are ready to control the violence.
Just today, a huge car bombing killed at least 30 people in Kirkuk, about 235 miles north of Baghdad. Now, the president talked about the progress and the violence today.
Let's go to our CNN senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry.
And, Ed, what did he say?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, as you know, the president opposed the war. He based his campaign on ending it, so this is a big day. But he is also being very careful to stress that there is a long way still to go.
HENRY (voice-over): The president is hailing the milestone that moves him one step closer to fulfilling his campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy. And today's transition is further proof that those who have tried to pull Iraq into the abyss of disunion and civil war are on the wrong side of history.
HENRY: Mr. Obama also had a blunt message for the Iraqis.
OBAMA: And with this progress comes responsibility. Iraq's future is in the hands of its own people, and Iraq's leaders must now make some hard choices necessary to resolve key political questions.
HENRY: But more than 130,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground in Iraq, and the American people seem anxious to get them home. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 73 percent support withdrawing combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns. Only 26 percent oppose. More startling, asked if the U.S. should send combat troops back into Iraqi cities if violence increases, 63 percent said no. Only 35 percent said yes.
The possibility of violence flaring up again may be one reason spokesman Robert Gibbs would not answer whether the White House believes the U.S. has won the war.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And I -- I think -- without getting into those characterizations, I think it is -- this is an important step forward.
HENRY (on camera): Has the president ruled out ever declaring victory there?
GIBBS: I -- I -- we will keep the banner printers from -- from doing anything crazy.
HENRY (voice-over): An obvious poke at former President Bush declaring victory too soon, which is why this president is being extra cautious.
OBAMA: Now, make no mistake, there will be difficult days ahead. We know that the violence in Iraq will continue.
HENRY: Now, it's partly because of all that hard work why the president has now given Vice President Biden a tough new assignment. He is going to be overseeing Iraq policy, working with General Odierno, as well as Ambassador Chris Hill in Baghdad, to try to help the Iraqis achieve political reconciliation. Despite this milestone, a lot of work yet be done -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: OK, thank you, Ed.
HENRY: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: What are Michael Jackson's final wishes for his estate? A lawyer says there would be multiple wills. Could that ignite a legal battle for a piece of Jackson's embattled financial empire?
And the money is in the music. Jackson co-owned a vast Beatles catalogue possibly worth billions. What will happen to it now?
MALVEAUX: A will written by Michael Jackson in 2002 has now surfaced. Bud other wills could be out there. And there is a lot of legal questions as the plans to lay Jackson to rest move forward.
Joining me now for our "Strategy Session," Jim Moret. He is the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." And Ed McCaffery, he's a law professor at the University of Southern California.
Thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
I want to start off first talking about the custody of the three children, a lot of questions about this. If it is true that Michael Jackson did not officially adopt the children, does it pose any problem for his mother, Katherine Johnson, who temporarily has custody of these kids?
I want to start off with you, Jim?
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Thank you for not going to the law professor.
MORET: He is going to tell me I'm wrong.
But, you know, here in California, those children, the first two, anyway, the ones he had with Debbie Rowe, are presumed to be his child -- presumed to be his children. They were born during the marriage. So, you know, I don't know what the adoption would really impact as far as them.
You know, the -- the problem with this is that, when you're talking about these three children, they are the beneficiaries of Michael Jackson's estate. And if you look at $500 million in debt and his $700 million in assets, there is 200 million reasons why you would want to claim you are the parent, and you would want custody of those kids, because, where the kids go, the money will go.
MALVEAUX: Ed, does -- does this complicate things for Katherine Jackson, if you don't have the official paper trail there that says these are his children, whether or not, you know, he was married to Debbie Rowe?
EDWARD MCCAFFERY, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, first, I want to say, Jim, you are exactly right. So, just...
... get you out of being scared of law professors.
MALVEAUX: He is OK, huh? He's on the...
MCCAFFERY: He's OK.
MALVEAUX: ... strong legal ground here?
MCCAFFERY: There are really two different issues here, Suzanne.
One is the custody of the person, the custody of the children. Who is going to be making medical and educational decisions? Where are the kids going to live? And that is actually separate from the financial custody. They tend to go together. If there is no will, they will go together.
I think the absence of a formal adoption may matter -- probably not. I think the big question is, is there a will, and is it a clear, legally effective will? If Michael Jackson said in this will that "I consider these children my children; I want my estate to go to these three young persons," that's going to hold up, unless there is something about that will, that it was improperly executed, there was fraud, there was a later will that might have revoked that will.
But it doesn't actually matter. You can leave -- you don't have to leave things to your own children. So, in terms of where the assets go, that is going to be a question of, is there a will? Is there a valid will? Are there multiple wills?
In terms of who is taking care of the children, that is going to be up to the court system to decide what is in the best interests of the children. And, so far, they have said that is the grandmother. And that is probably going to hold up. That is a good decision.
MALVEAUX: Does it matter at all -- and either one of you can jump in on this -- does it matter at all whether or not he is the biological father, or if there's any kind of complication regarding that? Is -- does that make any difference here?
MCCAFFERY: You want the pooh-bah law professor first?
I think it...
MCCAFFERY: It does, Suzanne, if there is no valid will.
Again, if there is a valid will, the I's were dotted, the T's were crossed, no fraud, no suspicious circumstances, Michael Jackson could leave his estate to his neighbor. But if there is not a valid will, or if there's conflicts, there could be a question that -- that it would go to your biological children. Or, if he tried to cut out his biological children, which it seems like he didn't do -- it seems like he didn't try to cut out the children -- the fact that they were biological would be relevant.
So, it could be relevant, but, again, like a lot of things here, tremendous mysteries that will be unfolding over the weeks, months, maybe years ahead.
MALVEAUX: And, Jim, we know that this...
MORET: And, Suzanne -- and...
MALVEAUX: Go ahead. MORET: Well, I was going to say, what you have here is, Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, went to court and basically said that Michael Jackson died intestate, without a will.
And it was based upon that, that she was granted temporary guardianship and control of the estate. But, then, after that happened, we are hearing from a former attorney that there may have been a valid will executed in 2002. That has not yet been presented to the court. So, that could, as the professor said, change everybody.
MALVEAUX: Jim, tell me about the investigation.
We saw yesterday that there were medications, bags of -- of medical supplies, that type of thing, that left the house. What do we know about that? Is there any development there? And -- and how do we know where these drugs came from?
MORET: Well, there -- there -- there are a couple of issues here.
One, Jackson's own family had been concerned for years about Michael Jackson's inappropriate and abusive use of medication, prescription medications. So, you have the issue on, how many doctors are involved in prescribing these drugs?
Roger Friedman was a guest on your show just a -- a few minutes ago.
MORET: And -- and -- and he said that -- that Michael Jackson accumulated a $48,000-a-month prescription drug bill, which is astronomical.
And it is also believable, if you look at a local Beverly Hills pharmacy that -- that recently claimed that Michael Jackson owed them $100,000 for drugs. So, you are going to look at whose name that they were under.
And this is really reminiscent of the Anna Nicole case, where you have aliases and different doctors supplying. You have Michael Jackson in a situation, allegedly, where he was enabled by those around him and doctors getting him various medications.
I think that is what the LAPD is looking at. And they, by all accounts, took out two bags which purportedly contained drugs.
MALVEAUX: We certainly, CNN, cannot confirm just how much this -- this cost or -- or alleged drug habit that Michael Jackson was engaged in.
But, Ed, I want to ask you, it's -- it's -- it's two days now. You have Tuesday. Jackson died last Thursday. We have -- we have got this investigation. Is it unusual now that we -- we don't -- we are not seeing a burial, that there are still a lot of unanswered questions here, in terms of the autopsy?
MCCAFFERY: Well, no, I -- I mean, I think, given Michael Jackson's life, the -- the larger-than-life nature of his life, some of the questions that Jim and your previous guests have alluded to, I mean, there are some very big questions here.
And some of the questions -- and it is against a backdrop in which there might be -- there are hundreds of millions of dollars involved, whether that's debts, whether that's assets. So, there's a lot money. There are a lot of questions. They're going to be -- just in terms of the legal questions, the drug habits that Jim was alluding to, if they are proven, they might be relevant to the validity of some of the legal documents and when they were signed, and was Jackson competent to sign them?
So, I think everybody wants to really take their time, do this right. Everybody is worried about getting sued if they do something wrong. We don't know what is going to come out of the woodwork. We had a will from 2002 come out.
MCCAFFERY: My guess would be, that is the first of many.
So, I don't think -- you know, everything is unusual here, obviously. But, given that everything is unusual, I don't think it is particularly unusual that we haven't completed the autopsy yet.
MALVEAUX: OK. We will have to leave it there.
Ed McCaffery and Jim Moret, thank you so much for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM, figuring out all the -- the legal aspects of all of this. Thank you so much.
MCCAFFERY: Thank you.
MORET: My pleasure.
MALVEAUX: On our "Political Ticker": George W. Bush is ready to talk at a July 4th celebration. The former president will appear at a local park in Oklahoma. Organizers say ticket sales have been fantastic, but a few tickets remain. The event is on Saturday evening.
And, remember, for the latest political news any time, check out CNNPolitics.com.
Jack now joining us again with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Tickets have been fantastic that they haven't sold all the tickets?
MALVEAUX: They have got a few more.
CAFFERTY: It's a little confusing.
CAFFERTY: The question this hour, how will the Supreme Court's reversal of a decision by Sonia Sotomayor affect her chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court?
David in Virginia says: "I hope this will provide some allowance for senators on both sides of the aisle to examine the basis for her decision, one which the Supreme Court seemed to feel gave almost a cursory glance on a critical and increasingly complex issue, reverse discrimination, an issue that will come up more frequently in the years ahead."
Ann in Louisiana writes: "Considering that four justices agreed with her decision, those who would use this to try to keep her off the high court will have a hard time. She should be confirmed."
Richard writes: "This will not affect her confirmation. Short of a major scandal involving a celebrity, the confirmation process will move forward, with people aligned on the right or the left, as always. Toeing the party line is more important in America than independent thought and the analysis of a legal career."
Martin in Washington says: "It will likely result in more intensive questioning about her racist and sexist views. But I doubt it will derail her nomination. Liberals think it is perfectly OK to discriminate against white males. I guess they view it as payback for the sins of history. Hence, they will confirm her."
David in Missouri: "If she made this decision on something so clear-cut, then I am no longer a fan of hers. It's so obvious that these firefighters were denied. They did nothing wrong. And it -- if she couldn't see that, or didn't want to see that, it would be a big mistake to put her on the Supreme Court."
And, finally, Raoul in New Orleans says: "Republicans say the Supreme Court's decision raises issues about her ability to serve on the high court. This from the gang who allowed Harriet Miers to even get nominated?"
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog, CNN.com/caffertyfile. Look for yours there. There are lots of them -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Jack.
You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: breaking news about Michael Jackson on two coasts. In Los Angeles, the singer's will surfaces, as details of a public viewing emerge. And, in New York, thousands line up to pay tribute to Jackson at the historic Apollo Theater.
Also, it may be Jackson's single most valuable asset, the rights to more than 200 songs by the Beatles. We are now learning how it -- much it may be worth.
And another plane crash at sea, but, this time, one survivor, a child, plucked from the waters where more than 100 people died.
Wolf Blitzer's off. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.