Jackson's Ex-Wife Won't Attend Memorial

An attorney for Debbie Rowe says Michael Jackson's ex-wife is backing out of plans to attend the pop superstar's memorial service.

Rowe, the mother of Jackson's two oldest children, had originally planned to attend Tuesday's memorial service at the Staples Center.

But Rowe attorney Marta Almli said Monday her attendance would be "an unnecessary distraction" and that Rowe will "celebrate Michael's memory privately."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles city councilwoman Jan Perry said she'd "love it" if the Jacksons helped defray some of the city's expected costs associated with Tuesday's memorial, but that officials hadn't heard from the family.

Appearing on CBS' "The Early Show" Monday, Perry said that even though the state of California is in dire financial straits, the city of Los Angeles budgets every year for extraordinary events. But she said incremental costs, such as information technology and street cleaning, weren't budgeted for yet.

Perry, who is serving as the city's acting mayor while Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in South Africa, also encouraged people without tickets to the memorial to "stay away" from the area.


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The event will be held at the Staples Center, a 20,000 seat venue normally home to the L.A. Lakers and star-studded events. But on Tuesday, friends and family, along with thousands of Jackson fans, will flood the area for the memorial service for the King of Pop.

And in this city, no stranger to massive public events, officials say they're prepared for anything -- from street closures to barricades to manpower, police are mounting a major security effort.


Event organizers, who say they received more than 1.5 million online requests, will hand out 17,500 passes at Dodger Stadium later on Monday after notifying recipients by e-mail Sunday night.

Some 11,000 of those tickets will allow entry to the Staples Center, while the remaining 6,500 ticket holders will watch a simulcast of the ceremony in the neighboring Nokia Theater.

City officials are also preparing for upwards of half-a-million fans without tickets, who may converge on the area despite repeated pleas that they watch on TV from home.

"You'll be standing in the hot sun on a city street. Watch this in the manner that it should be watched with friends at home or somewhere else where you have access to a TV," suggested LAPD Chief of Staff Jim McDonald.

For Jackson's family and close friends, the day will begin at Forest Lawn Cemetery, where they will gather for a small private ceremony before making the 13 mile trip to the Staples Center.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, in an appearance Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," made no mention of whether the Jacksons would help the city with some of the expected costs.

"The city is trying to do what it should do to secure people," said Sharpton, a family friend. "That's what cities do. Clearly, no one in the family are happy that the city is incurring any expense at all. You're talking about an historic figure that will have an historic celebration, probably one that we would not see similar in this generation."

Meanwhile, lucky fans celebrated when they got an e-mail saying they had scored the hottest ticket in town. "Congratulations, your application was successful," said the message sent to Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco.

She immediately Twittered: "OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!"

It was a real-life version of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. Each selected person gets a pair of free tickets, with the odds of being chosen about 1 in 183.

Jackson died at age 50 on June 25 after going into cardiac arrest in the bedroom of his rented mansion. The cause of Jackson's death has not been determined. Autopsy results are not expected for several weeks.

According to an L.A. Times report, a search of his rented mansion turned up bottles of Diprivan, a powerful sedative that can stop a patient's breathing and heart. Investigators are likely to focus on how the singer gained access to the drug

"Knowing Michael, all he would have needed would have been one doctor he trusted to tell him it was ok and that would have been enough for him," said CBS News consultant and Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli.

And amid the buzz surrounding the memorial and the rumors of Jackson's prescription drug use, legal wrangling over the pop star's will continued Monday.

The family is currently seeking a delay to settle the issue of who will control of the estate and to see if another will exists.
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