Michael Jackson’s three children went through some difficult days after their father’s sudden death 10 months ago, the singer’s eldest sister said Thursday, but now, surrounded by nurturing family members, they are recovering well.
Rebbie Jackson also said there may be some prosecution surprises in store when Dr. Conrad Murray goes on trial for his role in her brother’s death. “There’s an ongoing investigation, so I have to be very careful about what I say. But I think there’s going to be some interesting results for everyone,” she told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in New York.
So far, Murray, Jackson’s personal physician, is the only person charged in the superstar singer’s death. He is accused of involuntary manslaughter for administering a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol to Jackson at the Los Angeles home he was renting.
Rebbie Jackson said she’s been kept abreast of the police investigation. Asked if Murray is the only person implicated, she said, “I think it’s a lot more than that possibly. We’ll find out. I can’t say too much, but it’s interesting what’s going on.”
Earlier, Jeff Rossen of NBC News had reported that Murray will not attempt to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors.
“There’s absolutely not going to be a plea deal here,” former LA. prosecutor Robin Sax told NBC. “Dr. Murray's defense team isn't backing down, and neither are prosecutors. This is going to come down to a battle of the experts. And it's not a slam dunk for either side.”
Kids getting better
While the legal process grinds on, Rebbie said that her brother’s three children, Prince, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8, are thriving and continuing the process of emotional healing after losing their father.
The children, who grew up in a protective cocoon, continue to be insulated from the world. Rebbie moved in with them and her mother, Katherine Jackson, in Los Angeles for nearly three months after Jackson’s death last June.
She said she continues to see them as often as she can, commuting from her Las Vegas home to their home in Los Angeles.
“They’re with family members,” Rebbie said. “They’re insulated, you might say, and surrounded with a lot of cousins. I think it’s helping them to be stable, but it’s very difficult.”
She said the kids went through a very difficult time in the days and weeks immediately following Jackson’s death.
“It was very difficult. It was very hard,” Rebbie said. “But yet, day by day you could see the progress of family members getting better and dealing with the situation better and feeling more serene about it.”
Now, she said, “They seem to be doing fine.”
Mark Lester, the kids’ godfather and the former child star of the musical “Oliver,” agreed.
“The kids are happy,” Lester told NBC News. “Paris' birthday was earlier this month. They had a big party. They're getting out, going to the cinema. They’re happy. Things are settling down. That’s good.” Lester pointed to Paris as the strongest of the singer’s three children.
While others struggle to cope, Michael Jackson’s career continues to thrive even after the singer’s death. A new deal has been struck to feature his music on a Cirque du Soleil production that will tour the country next year and settle in Las Vegas by 2012.
Part of that deal is a prospective reality show, reportedly a cross between “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Winners of the TV competition would join the Cirque du Soleil production.
Rebbie, the first of the 10 Jackson siblings, is also resurrecting her own music career with a concert in Scranton, Pa., this weekend.
Born Maureen Reillette Jackson in 1950, Rebbie defied her father’s wishes when she married Nathaniel Brown at the age of 18 and moved to Kentucky, where she had two daughters, Stacee and Yashi, and a son, Austin.
She made some appearances with the Jacksons, both on stage and on their television show, but didn’t release her first solo album, “Centipede,” until 1984. Michael wrote the title song for her and it reached No. 4 on the R&B charts. The album topped out at 13th place. She released three more albums: “Reaction” in 1986, “R U Tuff Enuff” in 1988, and “Yours Faithfully” in 1998.