Sharpton: Family To Protect Jackson's Kids

Michael Jackson, left, stands with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, where Sharpton was hosting a "Summit for Fairness in the Recording Industry," Tuesday, July 9, 2002. Sharpton said Jackson's allegations of racism in the music industry should be taken seriously and called for record companies to address the problem. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg) AP Photo/Tina Fineberg

Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson announced this weekend that he and his wife Katherine have sole authority over the singer's affairs and children.

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported that the significance of this statement comes on the heels of sentiments spoken by other Jackson associates who have expressed interest in custody of the singer's three children.

Prior to meeting with the family of Michael Jackson to discuss memorial plans for the late singer, the Rev. Al Sharpton (who attended the BET Awards Sunday with Joe Jackson) said today that he does not yet know the family's plans regarding custody of the singer's children.

"I know that generally the entire family - I've been talking with Mr. Jackson and certainly Jermaine and the brothers - everyone is concerned about Michael's children and will do what is necessary to make sure they're provided for properly and provided for in a way that Michael would have wanted them to be provided for. I don't think they've sought out all the legal particulars. They're still dealing with, clearly, the shock of Michael's passing and trying to preserve with dignity his legacy."

Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was questioned by police this weekend and, according to investigators, no red flags were raised. [Dr. Murray's attorney told The Early Show that his client did not prescribe any inappropriate medication for Jackson.] But the Jackson family did pursue a second autopsy of the singer.

Early Show anchor Maggie Rodriguez asked Rev. Sharpton if the family holds the doctor responsible, or suspects that he either caused Michael Jackson's death or didn't react properly to warning signs?

"In my discussions with the family, they have not accused anyone of anything directly," Rev. Sharpton replied. "They've had the concerns any family would have of trying to find out what happened. They're trying to sort out the facts in a very rational way, but of course with extreme concern because this is their son, this is their brother. There's not been an accusatory tone toward anyone.

"They're trying to see where the facts lie and get those facts without any slant or any bias in any way."

Rev. Sharpton said the family was encouraged to seek a second autopsy, "so that they would know themselves exactly what was and was not in Michael, and what was and was not a possible contributing factor to his death.

"Again, I think they've done it in the spirit that any family would. You and I would want to know that if a family member, relatively young, had this kind of unexpected death."

Rev. Sharpton said the reporting of the family's response was exaggerated, "as always, because of who they are. But I don't think they're behaving any differently than any family would."
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