February 15, 2006

California court upholds Jackson’s custody of kids

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An appeals court on Wednesday
reinstated an order granting Michael Jackson sole custody of
his two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe, despite her concerns
over the singer's child molestation trial.

California's 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that Rowe,
who in 2001 signed away her parental rights to the 47-year-old
performer's two oldest children, Michael Jr. and Paris, had no
legal grounds to terminate that arrangement.

Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1997 to 1999 but
never lived with the self-styled King of Pop, persuaded a Los
Angeles Superior Court judge to overturn the child custody
agreement in 2004 on legal grounds.

Rowe's petition cited accusations of child molestation
against Jackson and his association with the Nation of Islam,
whose members briefly provided security for the singer during
the trial.

The case ended with Jackson's acquittal in June of 2005.

After the lower court refused Jackson's request to overturn
that order, he appealed to the 2nd District, which ruled in
favor of the entertainer and held that the original order
terminating Rowe's parental rights should stand.

Rowe, who was working as a medical assistant for a
dermatologist when she met Jackson, was called as a prosecution
witness in his trial but defended him on the stand, saying that
he was kind, selfless and "generous to a fault."

Jackson, who has spent much of his time since the trial in
Bahrain, has a third child, Prince Michael II, by an unknown

He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis
Presley, in the mid-1990s, but the couple had no children