Allred: Take Away Jackson's Kids

Michael Jackson arrest trial
An attorney who has clashed with Michael Jackson in the past is seeking a child-welfare probe of the pop star and urged authorities to take away custody of his three children because of the new sex abuse allegations.

Attorney Gloria Allred's demand came Friday, a day after Jackson posted $3 million bail in Santa Barbara and returned to Las Vegas, where he had been filming a music video.

While Jackson's whereabouts Saturday were unclear, fans planned to offer their support with candlelight vigils and rallies in cities around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Rome and Budapest.

"It's really a symbolic action because it's being held all over the world. We would like our side of the story, our opinions, to be heard," said Diana d'Alo, one of the organizers of the London vigil.

Jackson was apparently planning to return to his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County. His lawyer, Mark Geragos, told the Los Angeles Times he planned to meet with him there Saturday. He didn't say when.

Geragos had high praise for his client in his comments to the Times, published Saturday.

"Michael is one of the most brilliant, intelligent, strongest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting," the lawyer said. "I couldn't be more impressed with him."

The Times, citing a source it didn't identify, said Jackson's accuser first reported the alleged molestation to a therapist, who in turn informed Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials last June. An arrest warrant alleges Jackson committed lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.

The newspaper says say the boy's mother first became suspicious after her son appeared with Jackson in a BBC documentary. In it, Jackson and the boy are seen holding hands, and talking about sleep-overs at Jackson's Neverland ranch. Within weeks after the broadcast, the Times says, the mother was in contact with an attorney.

The newspaper says the alledged incidents took place when the boy was 12. The Times adds that he is now 13 and will turn 14 next month.

Meanwhile, the Jackson family stayed on the offensive.

In an interview on ABC's 20/20 Friday night, Michael's brother Jermaine called for a state and federal investigation of the investigators working on the child molestation case against Michael. He also said he believes Michael is the victim of an extortion plot, and vowed the Jackson family would "fight back with everything we've got."

Media reports have said the alleged victim is a 12- or 13-year-old cancer survivor who visited Jackson at Neverland, a storybook playland where the singer, who has befriended several cancer victims, was known to hold sleep-overs for children and share his bed with youngsters.

Allred briefly represented a 13-year-old boy involved in a molestation allegation against Jackson a decade ago. The case never led to criminal charges, but reportedly ended with Jackson, 45, paying a multimillion-dollar civil settlement.

At a news conference Friday, Allred said she has twice asked child-welfare officials to investigate Jackson.

She said she is concerned because of his statements about sleep-overs with children, the molestation allegations and an incident in which he dangled his baby son outside the window of a German hotel last year.

"I believe the children should be temporarily removed from Mr. Jackson's care and custody because of the history of Michael Jackson with children ... combined with present criminal allegations," she said.

Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman had no comment on Allred's demand, but it was denounced by Brian Oxman, an attorney who has represented members of the Jackson family, although not Michael Jackson.

"It is outrageous that she should seek such media attention for her own aggrandizement. She is attacking Michael for her own benefit. She is a citizen who has no interest, no participation in this case. She has no client. She is injecting herself in this with ignorance and brazenness," Oxman said.

Jackson has two boys, 6-year-old Prince Michael I and the baby, Prince Michael II. He also has a 5-year-old daughter, Paris. Little is known about Prince Michael II, whose mother has not been identified. Prince Michael I and Paris were born during his marriage to nurse Debbie Rowe, which ended in 1999.

Allred said authorities have the power to intervene when there is a "substantial risk that a child will be sexually abused by his or her parent" and shouldn't wait until the outcome of any criminal case.

The Santa Barbara County district attorney does not plan to file charges until after Thanksgiving.

Michael X. Dean, deputy director of Santa Barbara County Social Services, has declined to say whether there are plans to take Jackson's children into custody.

Dean said that, generally, criminal charges can prompt a child welfare investigation, but he added that such an investigation is not automatic.

Jackson, meanwhile, was finding some sympathy among music associates.

Quincy Jones, producer of Jackson's landmark "Thriller" album, told the syndicated TV program "Access Hollywood" he was concerned about the media coverage of the case.

"I don't know what to think about it. We are bombarded all day with choices from the Beltway Sniper to Laci Peterson. It never stops, you know, sensationalism in the media," Jones said.

Separately, the allegations against Jackson were even impacting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where an Indiana marching band decided to drop the pop superstar's "Thriller" from its song lineup barely a week before the show.

Thomas Wilson, director of the Bloomington, Ind., High School North marching band, told Macy's producers he wanted to replace the planned number after the possibility of charges against Jackson surfaced.

"Thriller" would not be "appropriate for the morals and the ideals and the sense of pride that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade represents," Wilson said in Saturday editions of The New York Times. He said the change was his decision.

The band will instead play the song "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," by their hometown star, John Mellencamp.