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Surprises in Jackson's Will; South Carolina GOP State Head Urges Governor's Resignation

Aired July 1, 2009 - 15:59   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Well, happening now, breaking news. Who is in and who is cut out of Michael Jackson's will? The details are now public, including some surprises.

We are poring over the fine print about the future of Jackson's children and of his estate.

Also this hour, fans and the news media are flocking to Neverland, but there is new uncertainty about plans for a Jackson memorial.

We'll tell you what the Jackson family announced just a short while ago.

And is President Obama backpedaling on his promise of openness at the White House? Secret visitor logs raise some questions and prompt comparisons to Dick Cheney.

Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.


The breaking news on Michael Jackson this hour. We now know how some of the major figures of his dramatic life are figuring in on his death.

The will he wrote in 2002 is now a part of the public record. His mother, his children, and fellow Motown star Diana Ross play prominent roles. His father goes unmentioned. And his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, is cut out all together.

CNN's Don Lemon is digging into the details in Los Angeles.

Don, we've been looking at the documentation today. What have you learned?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, we just got this will just a short time ago, and in this will, it does list Katherine Jackson as a guardian of the children, as a guardian of the children, but then it goes on to say that if Katherine Jackson can't perform as guardian of the children, Michael Jackson, he says, "I nominate Diana Ross," the entertainer Diana Ross, as the guardian of the children.

But what perhaps is most interesting in this will is that this will makes John Branca, Michael Jackson's long-term attorney from 1986 to 2006, it makes him and John McClain, who is also a longtime friend of Michael Jackson and also executive in the music industry, it makes them, both of them, the executor of Michael Jackson's will. Everything to be administered by them. They can invest and reinvest Michael Jackson's assets, earnings whichever way that they think, that they feel those assets and earnings should be deemed and should go. It also says if they want to at any point do something else with that, with the assets and with Michael Jackson's earnings, that they can, as well.

But again, Katherine Jackson, in this document, is being named as the person who should take care of the children. It also says that it gives nothing in this will, makes no provision for Debbie Rowe.

It lists Debbie Rowe as his ex-wife and then lists his three children, saying, "These are the only three children that I have, that I believe to be alive, that I have," and Debbie Rowe, the mother of two of those children, gets nothing -- gets nothing, as well.

But also, real quickly, Suzanne, I want to say there was a hearing today which is called an ex parte hearing. John Branca and the other gentleman, John McClain, filed a motion in court. They're attorneys. They want to get control of Michael Jackson's earnings and assets right away.

A judge said hold on, let's wait until Monday, July 6th. There's a hearing. So, until then, Katherine Jackson is the administrator of Michael Jackson's assets -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Don.

Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

You and I have been talking about this all day. It's a short document, but there are a lot of questions about this, obviously.

In plain English, what does this tell us about where Jackson's kids go and what happens to his estate?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: OK. Let's talk about the money first.

Basically, what it does is it says all the money, all the assets should be managed for the benefit of a different entity, the Michael Jackson trust. It basically says all the money is going into this Michael Jackson trust.

We don't know what the instructions are for the trust. The trust documents were not made public.

The trust documents presumably say, I want my kids taken care of, I want some family members taken care of, I want some money to go to charity. That's all in the trust, but that's not disclosed. So, it's really kind of a placeholder in a way for the trust in terms of the money.

MALVEAUX: Now, the kids, what happens to the children? TOOBIN: The kids, it says -- Jackson recommends that custody goes to his mother, his 79-year-old mother. But it also says if she is not able, he wants custody to go to Diana Ross, whom we know is -- Jackson has been a longtime fan, friend, fan. And she's, however, also 65 years old. So, for young children, it may raise some questions.

Now, and also, he doesn't have the last word. The will isn't the last word on who gets custody. A court still has to approve that, probably will approve...

MALVEAUX: There's no risk that that wouldn't happen, that that wouldn't be approved?

TOOBIN: At this point, it doesn't look like there's any other reasonable candidate to be the -- have custody of the kids.

MALVEAUX: OK. Let's talk about Debbie Rowe, the ex-wife of Michael Jackson. He mentions her two times in the will, once that the marriage is dissolved, that they are no longer together.

TOOBIN: I'm not just divorced, I'm real divorced from her.

MALVEAUX: It's dissolved. And then, secondly, he says, "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my heirs. I have intentionally omitted to proved for my former wife, Deborah Jean Rowe Jackson."

What do we make of this? Does this mean she doesn't get anything? Are we to look at this in some way sand say she is just cut out of all of this?

TOOBIN: Well, I'll tell you what it suggests. It suggests that he wants her to get nothing, but it doesn't establish for certain that she will get nothing because, as I said, all the money, all the assets is going to this trust.

The trust documents may say "I want Debbie Rowe to get some money." It will certainly say "I want my children to get some money."

All that paragraph means is she doesn't get any money directly from the estate, from his current assets. Whether she gets any money from the will -- from the trust, I don't know.

MALVEAUX: And what about the heirs? Because the heirs not only include the children, but it could be Joe Jackson. It could be the siblings.

Are we took to look at this and say perhaps there is nothing for his siblings or for his father, or perhaps, that, too, there is some sort of acknowledgment to them in this trust? We still don't know what's in the trust.

TOOBIN: I don't think you can draw any conclusions from that paragraph about whether his family is going to get any money. The answer to that question is in the trust documents. We'll know if and when those become public. And we don't know for sure that they will ever become public.

QUESTION: And final question, you mentioned Diana Ross, obviously. Can we presume that she was consulted, that she, in fact, does want to take that responsibility to take care of the kids if she was named in the will if Katherine Jackson cannot?

TOOBIN: I think we can presume that. John Branca is a very well-known, respected attorney. He would not prepare a will with such an important provision involving such a well-known person without consulting her first. So, even though it's not legally required that Diana Ross give her permission to be listed in this way, I have to believe that she knew about it and approved it.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, Jeff.

And again, we have not heard from Diana Ross or her spokesperson, but we're looking for a response.

Time now for "The Cafferty File." And Jack Cafferty joining us.

Jack, what are you looking at?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The events surrounding Michael Jackson's death continue to become more bizarre every day, not unlike his life.

It was initially reported that on Friday, the day after tomorrow, eight days after he died, Jackson's body would be on public display at Neverland Ranch. This afternoon, the family announced that's not happening. And instead, they say they're working on plans for a public memorial. They also announced they've hired a public relations firm.

There were plans for a 30-car motorcade to carry Jackson's remains from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County tomorrow. The family has a private service planned for Sunday. The mayor of Gary, Indiana, where Jackson was born, has expressed interest in having Jackson buried there.

Meanwhile, here in New York, thousands of fans lined the streets in Harlem yesterday to be let inside the Apollo Theater, 600 at a time, to pay tribute to Michael Jackson.

Reverend Al Sharpton eulogized Jackson before showing off his own dance moves, those rather strange-looking pictures of Reverend Al grinding with some woman on stage at the Apollo. Then there were those weird -- can we move forward with the script here? Thank you.

Then there were those weird interviews with Joe Jackson, Michael's father, in which he plugs his new record label after being asked about the death of his son.

All this makes it seems that those with a vested interest in making money off Michael Jackson's death are doing their dead-level best to keep the story going and to milk it for every last nickel, just like the bloodsuckers around him did when he was alive. And it's working.

Jackson's music has shot right back to the top of the charts since his death.

Here's the question: Are the events surrounding Michael Jackson's death beginning to resemble his life?

You can go to my blog and post your comments there.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jack.

Insiders say Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, was his rock. We are learning more about why he chose her to raise his own children and about their relationship. It is a very stark contrast to Jackson's hostility towards his father.

Plus, powerful South Carolina Republicans now agree it is time for Governor Mark Sanford to go. Fallout from his confessed affair goes from a trickle to a tidal wave.

And why the Obama White House is keeping visitor logs under wraps. Advocates of open government say that the president is letting them down.


MALVEAUX: Well, he cheated, lied. Yesterday, more shocking revelations. Today, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford reverses himself. The AP says that he's backing out of a promise to them to release personal financial records that could show if he used state funds to see his mistress.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the head of South Carolina's Republican Party says, "For the past two days, I have been speaking with Republican leaders across South Carolina. There is clearly a growing view that the time may have come for Governor Sanford to remove himself and his family from the limelight so that he can devote his efforts full time to repairing the damage in his personal life."

CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger here, joining us.

Obviously, the pressure is growing. You've been making phone calls on all of this. Has the tone changed? Give us a sense of where we are this afternoon.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it seems that every time the governor opens his mouth, there are more calls for his resignation. And I think the news yesterday that he said that he had crossed the line with other women, really, but not the ultimate line, as he put it, got a lot of people in South Carolina scratching their heads, Suzanne.

And so, right now, in addition to the party chairman you just read the statement from, almost half of the Republicans in the state senate have said he ought to resign. You've got a half a dozen newspapers in the state saying he needs to go. And just today, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina went on television to say that the governor should make what he called the right decision. He didn't specify what that was, but you've got to presume that if he wanted the governor to stay, he would have said so.

MALVEAUX: And how does state politics play into all of this?

BORGER: Well, state politics plays in a huge way, obviously.

First of all, you have to remember Sanford wasn't very popular to begin with. He did have that fight with his own legislature over the stimulus money.

And the fellow who's in line, the lieutenant governor, is not very popular either. So, the lieutenant governor has hinted to some folks that he might be open to kind of just temporarily taking that and vowing not to run again when Sanford would have been up for re- election in 2010, or his term would have ended, excuse me, in 2010.


BORGER: So, you know, the people there are saying well, you know, we've got the devil here, but we've got another one there, and we're not quite sure which way we ought to go.

MALVEAUX: OK. Give us the latest if the story changes. OK. Thank you.

At Neverland Ranch right now, anticipation is building for a final farewell to Michael Jackson. But a short while ago, the Jackson family issued a statement disputing reports that there will be a public viewing of Jackson's body at his former home.

Let's bring in Kara Finnstrom. She is at the ranch.

That is where we are hearing about memorial plans. Obviously, you have the very latest.

Kara, what do you know?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the latest chapter in the drama that has unfolded since Michael Jackson's death. A new spokesperson for the Jackson family saying now that there will be no public viewing of Jackson's body and no private memorial services here at Neverland Ranch.

Just 24 hours ago, law enforcement officials were telling us that plans were in the works for a motorcade to bring his body here to Neverland Ranch. Obviously, a lot of changes since that time have been made. The Jackson family not saying at this point what their burial plans will be or memorial plans will be, but saying that they will share those shortly.

If we take a look over here, I'm going to show you what has surfaced here, you know, during the last couple of days. You can see there is a long line of television trucks, live TV trucks on both sides of this two-lane country road, trying to get out the latest information about memorial services and the burial of Michael Jackson. And obviously, we'll continue to stand by here and look for more information coming out from the Jackson family.

MALVEAUX: Sure, Kara. I know it's early in the story here, but are you getting any sense that people around you -- do they know what's happening here? Any reaction or...

FINNSTROM: I'm sorry. One more time?

MALVEAUX: Sure, Kara. Is there any reaction or response, the people that are around you, to this news that this may not happen?

Kara doesn't look like she can hear me. We're going to get back to Kara a little bit later on that. OK.

Well, Hollywood mourns another celebrity death. He was an Oscar- winning actor, celebrated for TV roles, and a man long associated with TV commercials for one company's popular campaign.

And a child is strangled by the family pet. This pet was a 12- foot python that crawled into the child's bedroom. The details may shock you.




Happening now, reformists voice their complaints in the media in Iran. We'll tell you what's being said in newspapers and on the Internet.

Well, some call them boutique doctors, the type of physician that was tending to Michael Jackson before he died. What won't these doctors to the stars do to provide for their patients?

And his glitter glove, his rhinestone socks, those and other Jackson memorabilia are considered priceless, but they could sell for high prices at auctions.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

There is new fuel today for speculation about whether prescription drug use might have contributed to Michael Jackson's death. A nutritionist and nurse claims that Jackson pleaded with her to give a powerful sedative, but her claims cannot be independently verified.

Our Brian Todd is sorting through the conflicting claims about Jackson's medications.

Obviously, there are a lot of questions surrounding this nurse, her credibility, and her story.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Now, her credibility as a nurse and nurse practitioner we've essentially been able to confirm, but a lot of questions, Suzanne, remain. The medical mystery surrounding Michael Jackson seems to grow deeper each day.

One of the most troubling questions, what information did the star share and not shot share with his health care providers about that medication that he took?


TODD (voice-over): Nutritionist Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse who says she worked with Michael Jackson earlier this year, tells of a frantic call just a few days before he died. Desperate for something to help him sleep, Lee says, Jackson begged her to help him find someone who could provide him with the powerful sedative Diprivan, used mostly in hospitals during anesthesia. Lee says she advised him against it.

CHERILYN LEE, NURSE WHO TREATED JACKSON: I said, "Michael, you keep wanting to sleep. You keep saying you want to be knocked out and sleep, but what about waking up tomorrow?"

TODD: Did Jackson's personal physician know about that call, or had he been approached by Jackson about Diprivan? We tried to contact the attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray.

The lawyer's representative said they couldn't answer those questions. They issued a statement saying, "We will not be responding to rumors and innuendo."

Dr. Murray's attorneys had previously said he was not aware of any prescription drug abuse by Jackson, but they also said this...

EDWARD CHERNOFF, ATTORNEY FOR DR. CONRAD MURRAY: He didn't know for sure whether he had any other doctors. There was some suspicions that there might be other doctors, but he didn't know for sure.

TODD: Dr. Murray hadn't started as Jackson's personal physician until early May. Cherilyn Lee says she hadn't seen Jackson since April, but that he had asked her about Diprivan then, mentioned he'd gotten Diprivan from another doctor a long time ago, but wouldn't say who that doctor was.

An expert on medical ethics says many patients, not just the wealthy and famous, play health care providers off each other and compartmentalize information.

PROF. PAUL WOLPE, EMORY UNIVERSITY: They might assume that one health care professional would disapprove of the behavior and another one seems more open. They might think that, I should tell the nutritionist about one thing and my doctor about another, and not see that the doctor needs to know the whole picture.


TODD: And Paul Wolpe says compartmentalization like that can be very dangerous. The personal physician, he says, is the captain of this team, needs to know all the drugs you're taking so that he or she can coordinate what you're doing and warn you about risky behavior.

Right now, part of the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson is, did he share enough information with his doctors, Suzanne? And that's something we may not find out for a while.

MALVEAUX: And do we know if Diprivan -- is this the kind of drug that requires a prescription, or could he have gotten it another way?

TODD: We've checked with some experts on this, including a doctor at Stanford University Medical Center, who says that, generally, Diprivan is not a prescription drug, that you cannot get it unless you're getting some kind of anesthesia in the hospital as a general rule.

If Michael Jackson got that, you know, how he got that is going to be interesting to find out, if he'd gotten it years ago, as he said he did to this nurse. That's going to be something maybe that could be problematic for some people.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, Brian.

Let's take a closer look at how this nurse/nutritionist may have been involved in Michael Jackson's care.

We're joined by CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

And Cherilyn Lee was licensed as both a registered nurse and as a nurse practitioner. What would she be able to do for Jackson?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A nurse practitioner, Suzanne, can do pretty much what a doctor can do. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with additional training, at least a Masters Degree, and they practice very much like physicians. They see patients, they prescribe drugs.

In some states, they can even operate completely independently from doctors. In a majority of states, they work in a collaborative relationship with MDs -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Can they be hired, or do they work in clinics?

COHEN: It could work either way. Nurse practitioners work in clinics, they work, sometimes, in some states on their own. And I suppose if you wanted to hire your own nurse practitioner to come to your house and take care of you, if you have enough money, you could do that, too.

MALVEAUX: OK. Elizabeth Cohen.

Thank you very much, Elizabeth.

Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, she figures prominently in his will as the person he said he wants to raise his three children now that he's gone.

CNN's Anderson Cooper looks at Jackson's warm relationship with his mother in an otherwise complicated and often tense family.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" (voice-over): Through all the changes and controversies...


COOPER: ... lawsuits and low points, there was one constant, his mom. Katherine Jackson brought Michael calm.


COOPER: In life, she defended, shielded her son. And now she stands by him in death.

STACY BROWN, AUTHOR, "MICHAEL JACKSON: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK": No one brought Michael the comfort that his mother brought him.

COOPER: Taking care of the family, taking care of his children. After Michael died, the 79-year-old Jackson matriarch shopped for sleeping bags and toys for them. She asked and was then granted temporary guardianship over Michael Jr., Paris, and Blanket.

BROWN: Pretty obvious that he -- that he wanted his mother to take care of the children. She was the backbone of that family. So, it's only -- it only makes sense that she continues on.

COOPER: Insiders say she shielded him and comforted him, and, in the darkest days of the child molestation trial, it was Katherine who never wavered.


TOM MESEREAU, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: She attended every day of the trial, and she is a wonderful, spiritual, giving, kind person. She was Michael's rock during that trial, because I was -- you know, not only would see her in court every day. But, during the breaks, very often, I would be in a room with just Michael and her. And it was very clear how much he loved her, how much she loved him.

COOPER: The bond between the two seemed unbreakable, and a stark difference to the relationship Michael had with his father. While she grieved in private, he was on the red carpet rambling, even promoting his new record company.

JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: We own a record company called -- tell him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ranch -- Ranch Records.

COOPER: If she gave him confidence, he told Oprah Winfrey his father tried to tear it down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It's hard enough with a parent telling you you're ugly.

M. JACKSON: Yes, very difficult. Am I angry with him? Sometimes, I can get angry, yes. I -- I don't know him the way I would like to know him.

My mother is wonderful. To me, she's perfection. I just wish I could understand my father.


COOPER: Katherine and Joe Jackson have been married for 60 years, but that is on paper. Reportedly, the two have lived separate and apart for the last decade. While she lives in the family compound in Encino, California, he resides hundreds of miles away in Las Vegas, preserving Michael's legacy and protecting her grandkids, and some say that is exactly what he would have wanted.

MESEREAU: He trusted her completely. And seeing her with those children just brings a smile to me. I mean, I think it's wonderful that she's going to be taking care of these beautiful children.

COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN, Los Angeles.


MALVEAUX: President Obama promised his administration would essentially be an open book. Now some are wondering if Mr. Obama's hiding something about visitors to the White House.

And imagine trying on or even owning Michael Jackson's famous glove -- pieces of his legacy on the auction block.


MALVEAUX: They are two administrations with so many differences, but with yet another thing in common. President Obama's White House and the White House under George Bush, both are now being accused of secrecy and withholding information that could impact you.

Let's get details from CNN's Elaine Quijano -- Elaine.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, some open-government advocates aren't happy with what they say is more of the same so far from a president who promised change.


QUIJANO (voice-over): As a candidate, Barack Obama pledged to usher in a new era.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will make our government open and transparent, so that anyone can insure that our business is the people's business.

QUIJANO: And, on his first full day in office, another promise.

OBAMA: I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness.

QUIJANO: But some open-government advocates are still waiting.

MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: The truth of the matter is, it's not looking so different right now.

QUIJANO: Melanie Sloan heads up the nonpartisan watchdog group CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW is suing the Obama administration for the release of White House visitor logs relating to coal company executives.

An energy bill just came through, and we think the American people would be interested to know who's influencing the Obama administration on energy policy.

QUIJANO: Sound familiar? The Bush administration fought a similar lawsuit.

Former Deputy White House Press Secretary Trent Duffy:

TRENT DUFFY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: There is a fine line between governing and campaigning. And, you know, each politician has to deal with the promises they make on the campaign trail.

QUIJANO: Mr. Obama never did make any promises regarding visitor logs, although spokesman Robert Gibbs says the White House is reviewing the visitor records policy, and says the administration's transparency shouldn't be measured against other White Houses.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not a contest between this administration or that administration or any administration. It's a -- to uphold the principle of open government.

QUIJANO: Still, for some, a disappointing showing so far from a president who won in part by differentiating himself.

SLOAN: We see him come in, and, immediately, they take the same kind of secrecy positions that the Bush White House did. So, that's very troubling.

QUIJANO: (on camera): An administration official argues, President Obama has backed up his promise of transparency in other ways, including using the Web to broadcast meetings in the White House and to track the government's use of taxpayer money.

As for the visitor logs, no word on when the administration might wrap up its review -- Suzanne.


Well, don't ask, don't tell could morph into who knew and who told? Some people want an all-out reversal of the military's ban against gays coming out while serving.

But, in the absence of that, the defense secretary says there are ways to not enforce it.

Well, let's turn to CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence.

Tell us how this would work.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Suzanne, the Obama administration is actively looking for loopholes in this law, ways that they could allow some openly gay troops to still serve, without actually repealing don't ask, don't tell.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): "Dismissed" -- fewer gay soldiers may be hearing that command if the defense secretary has his way.

For the first time, Robert Gates is looking at ways to selectively enforce the ban on openly gay troops. Gates says he would like to take into account who outs a soldier and -- quote -- "If we get that information from somebody who may have vengeance in mind or blackmail or somebody who has been jilted, in other words, if somebody is outed by a third party, does that force us to take an action?"

Sometimes, a service member is outed by a family member or civilian, like Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach. The Air Force pilot flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan before an acquaintance outed him to the top brass.

AUBREY SARVIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK: Or it could be a perfect stranger who has never met the service member, and it's nothing more than hearsay. But, once an investigation begins, then the service member is caught in this catch- 22.

LAWRENCE: Aubrey Sarvis runs an organization that opposes don't ask, don't tell. It says, even though Gates may have some legal flexibility:

SARVIS: I think the challenge will be difficult. It will take several weeks, if not months, to make those changes.

LAWRENCE: More than 1,000 military leaders recently signed a petition supporting don't ask, don't tell. They say, unlike civilians, who go home after work, the law recognizes the military's unique living conditions, characterized by forced intimacy, with little to no privacy.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAWRENCE: Now, President Obama has been criticized for not moving fast enough to propose a total repeal. But this is a federal law, so, ultimately, it's going to take Congress to change it -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, there's been a lot of frustration about the speed in which this is going, some people saying it's -- it's rather slow. Is there a timetable for actually taking a look at this proposal, this new proposal, of not -- not necessarily enforcing don't ask, don't tell?

LAWRENCE: Yes, Secretary Gates says he has got the general counsel and a team of lawyers digging through the law right now. He said, on first read, as he started to look at it, it doesn't seem to allow very much -- very much flexibility.

But they are going to be digging into it over the next few weeks, maybe few months, to see if there's anything they may be able to pull out of there.

MALVEAUX: OK, Chris, thank you so much.

Well, so many people claim to be speaking for the Jackson family, but who is really making the decisions? Did Michael Jackson make his choice clear in his will?

And Jackson's music has sold out before, and it's selling out now, will likely keep selling. But what might happen to the huge profits made on his music?


MALVEAUX: We are learning details about Michael Jackson's will, but his trust has not yet been made public.

Let's bring in our panel.

Hilary Losen -- Rosen, rather, is a frequent CNN contributor and the former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. Jim Moret is chief correspondent for "Inside Edition." And Bob Rasmussen is dean of the USC Law School.

First of all, we saw the will today, a brief document. We know that what has not been disclosed is this trust, what is going to happen with the estate, how those decisions are going to be made. I want to start off with you, Bob.

Is that unusual, that we don't have this document, that it hasn't been made public?

ROBERT RASMUSSEN, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW: I think everything about this case is a bit unusual. I think, in time, we will see what the document says. But it is a bit surprising we don't know right now how decisions are going to be made in this case. MALVEAUX: Jim, the -- the fact that we don't know so much at this point, what does the will actually -- what do you believe that the will -- what is the most important part of that, that it moves the story forward today?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, the most important part is now we have three executors named. They're not -- none of whom are -- are Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mom.

You know that she sought to take control of the estate. And that was because we were told a couple of days ago there was no will. It turns out there was a will, one dated 2002. We don't know if there's one dated since then. And -- and, frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if another one showed up.

But the person who is one of the executors of the will and was holding the will in his safe was Jackson's longtime attorney. So, we know who's going to control the assets. We also know that Jackson's mom has been designated to take -- to take care of and custody of Jackson's three children. And, if she's not able to, then Jackson has named Diana Ross to fill that capacity.

MALVEAUX: And, Hilary, you know at least two of the three executors. Does it surprise you who they chose? Can you talk a little bit about why you believe he selected those individuals?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in 2002, John Branca was very much in Michael Jackson's professional life and personal life. He is his longtime lawyer. And he and John McClain were the two folks helped -- most responsible, in many ways, for guiding the business parts of his career.

And we also know that, just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Jackson brought John Branca back into his life and asked him to help him negotiate some future aspects of his upcoming tour and some of his business things.

So, there's very much a legitimacy to John Branca and John McClain in this process. I heard that they're -- you know, the current manager of -- of Michael is saying he might have another will, but they don't really know.

But there's an important point here. And -- and John Branca has said that he believes that Katherine should continue to be the guardian of the children.


ROSEN: I have also heard that -- that he has reached out to her and assured her that there is money in the -- in the trust for her. So, I don't think that, you know, his intention -- I don't think this is going to be a hostile scenario at all.

MALVEAUX: I know that the family -- we know that the family is hunkered down today, that they're trying to make decisions about memorial, about the funeral, obviously, the -- the trust as -- as well.

And you really -- you get -- the question is, you know, really, who is in charge here? Who is running the show?

I want you guys to listen to the BET Awards that happened from -- from Janet Jackson and from Joe Jackson.


JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: He should have been recognized before all of this happened, which he was the biggest superstar in the world. And they're just now recognizing it now.

JANET JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful. So, they elected me to speak with all of you.


MALVEAUX: And then, today, the will comes out regarding Katherine Jackson being the guardian of his kids after his death. And he says: "I nominate my mother, Katherine Jackson, as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children. If Katherine Jackson fails to survive me or is unable or unwilling to act as a guardian, I nominate Diana Ross as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children."

Bob, who do we think really is in charge here? Who's calling the shots? Who has the most influence now in the Jackson family?

RASMUSSEN: Well, it's still unclear in terms of the family. I think, legally, eventually, we're going to see -- see, if the will is valid, it's going to be his mother, Mrs. Jackson, who's going to end up calling the shots.

But I think, right now, we have a situation where there are a lot of people involved in the Jackson family, and there's probably some internal confusion over exactly who is calling the shots.

ROSEN: You know, I think it's fairly clear that Katherine Jackson is calling the shots for the family.

The piece that's unclear is, going forward, whether the business shots of -- of the estate and -- and whether John Branca and -- and John McClain will stay executors, and whether this will be seen as valid.

But Katherine Jackson is clearly calling the shots. I know from sources in the music business she is making decisions -- the decisions about the funeral and the services, and she is the one negotiating among all of these lawyers and business interests right now.

MALVEAUX: Hilary...

ROSEN: And she's the only one that Michael trusted. MALVEAUX: ... do -- do you know if she's giving any information about what those services or arrangements might be? Any news that you can share, or no, at this time?

ROSEN: Well, you know, I -- I have -- I have heard various things from, you know, whatever other people have heard about wanting the burial to be at Neverland. I have heard that they're looking at a -- at a big memorial service at a -- at a big stadium in L.A., maybe the Staples Center.

But, you know, this is all just rumor right now -- nothing to report as fact.

MALVEAUX: And, Jim, I -- I thought -- specifically, I was struck by the fact that Janet Jackson said, "I am the one, the spokesperson who was elected to speak for this family," that she was making that point before a very large audience, with Joe Jackson also sitting there.

Does that indicate to you some sort of split within the family? You have Joe Jackson speaking on the red carpet, and then you have Janet Jackson very publicly saying, "I'm the one speaking for this family."

MORET: I think she made it very clear in that statement that Joe Jackson is not speaking for the family.

Joe Jackson was there speaking, apparently, for his own record label, and he did so the next day as well, you know. And that may be -- there may be that split in the family. But you also have to realize that, you know, they're -- Michael Jackson made it clear he did not want to go back to Neverland. He left Neverland.

So, it was interesting that the family would even choose to go back there. There's some talk about turning it into a Graceland-type of facility. Don't even know if that's legal yet for that area to run a business out of -- out of Neverland.

But it seems that now they have one voice. They have hired one public-relations firm to at least give the family one voice, so we can go to one source, theoretically...


MORET: ... to just hear one story, instead of competing stories.


I -- I want you guys to take a listen to the iReports. There are some folk who sent us some iReports about their reflections, what Michael Jackson and his legacy means to them. Take a listen.


OMEKONGO DIBINGA, CNN IREPORTER: It's also important to remember that, while many of us blame the media and critics for hating on Michael Jackson, we in black America must remember that black people hated on Michael Jackson, too. Many of us hated on him. And he became the subject of many jokes and many different types of skits.

DAVID WHITE, CNN IREPORTER: I won a dance contest in 1979 off Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album, "Don't Stop." And from there, you know, back in the day, when we were kids, when the Jacksons first debuted on "Ed Sullivan," shoot, there wasn't a guy the next day who didn't want to be a Jackson or -- or a member of the Jackson 5 or imitate Michael.


MALVEAUX: I want any of you to just jump in there, if you would.

I mean, is -- does that really reflect the full range of feelings that people had for Michael Jackson, hating on and also admiring him, wanting to dance and move like him as well?

ROSEN: When it comes to Michael Jackson, all things are true. He did have very serious problems, and -- and obviously serious legal problems. There were questions about his behavior and the appropriateness of them.

But, you know, he was an iconic, historic, creative figure, and who influenced millions and millions of people around the world. And it is essentially those dichotomies about him that make him an interesting figure, and, I think, probably end up keeping his legacy alive for many, many years to come.

He will be in that Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Lennon category of consistent brand going forward.

MALVEAUX: And, Bob, last question for you, if you can.


MALVEAUX: What is next in the legal process?

RASMUSSEN: Next in the legal process is I think, you know, the will is in court, to get the estate settled.

And I think the challenge is going to be to figure out exactly how much money did Michael Jackson owe, and then find out what his assets are worth, and then also trying to get the -- the cash to settle the debts, because part of the problem is many of his assets are money in the future, where the money that he borrowed is due today.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Bob Rasmussen, Hilary Rosen, and Jim Moret.

Thanks, all, again for being in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks again.

Well, Sarah Palin is thinking about running against Barack Obama, and she believes that she has a leg up.

Also ahead: Michael Jackson memorabilia for sale -- how fans may get to buy a piece of music history.

And the longtime front woman for the Supremes is playing backup in Michael Jackson's will -- Diana Ross now in the spotlight.


MALVEAUX: Tiger Woods is playing in President Obama's backyard. The golf legend was the headliner today at a charity tournament outside of Washington. House Republican Leader John Boehner also hit the links. Boehner's spokesman says the congressman is a big golfer and a big fan of Tiger Woods.

Well, imagine this contest: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin running, running against Barack Obama. Palin says she is confident that she could win. The former vice presidential nominee was talking about long-distance running. And she told "Runner's World" magazine that she thinks she would have more endurance in a marathon footrace with the commander in chief.

Jack again joining us with "The Cafferty File."

Jack, what are you following?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: If -- if you're interested in an inside look at the disaster that was the McCain run for the White House and Sarah Palin's role in it, allow me to recommend this month's "Vanity Fair" magazine and Todd Purdum's extraordinary, extraordinary piece about what went on behind the scenes with the governor of Alaska. The article is entitled "It Came From Wasilla."

The question this hour, are the events surrounding Michael Jackson's death beginning to resemble his life?

Janel in New York writes: "Watching the circus that has surrounded his death should give us a little insight into the chaos that his life must have been. Surrounded by sycophants who drowned out the few voices of reason regarding his health, and others who trampled over those who truly cared about him, everyday life must have been difficult, to put it mildly. The sick obsession the American public has been demonstrating doesn't say much good about us either."

Terry in North Carolina: "You're right on the money with this one. Every day seems to get more weird than the day before. Another story breaks that defines what this kid was all about and the personal mess he left behind. One can only imagine the hell these three children will go through while all the people that didn't care about Michael in life go about trying to get their hands on what he left behind."

John in Canada: "Jack, you had to ask. Just reflect on his father's emergence with his hand out, the family's second autopsy, news about his kids' genetic realities, and even the controversy over the 911 calls and the attending physician's actions. I will bet the farm we ain't seen nothing yet. You and Wolf just hold on to your hats and pass on the weirdness as it happens." Cathy in Austin writes: "I don't know about that, but the more coverage I watch, the more I am filled with sympathy for Michael Jackson. Bless his heart, it's obvious that his own father views him as an investment, not as a person, much less as his own child."

And Jennifer writes: "Beginning? Michael Jackson, boy, teen, adult, in court, and now in death, has been exploited through it all by family, friends, enemies, and the media. Anything to make a buck. Unconscionable."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, check out my blog, -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Jack.

Well, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: breaking news, a stunning turnaround by the Jackson family. They have just announced a major change of plans for services for Michael Jackson.