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Michael Jackson's Mother Katherine Battles His Estate Over Record-Breaking Sony Catalog Deal

'We don’t understand why this is not contempt of this court,' Katherine Jackson's lawyer said.

Michael Jackson
Source: MEGA

Lawyers for Michael Jackson's mother Katherine were in court last week.

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Michael Jackson's mother Katherine was in court last week to protest the sale of half of her son's catalog to Sony Music Group last month. The entire catalog was estimated to be worth $1.2 billion, making it the largest valuation of a musician's catalog in history.

Katherine Jackson's lawyers argued that the late pop star's estate executors should be held "in contempt" because they closed the deal while Katherine was still in the process of appealing a related ruling.

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Michael Jackson
Source: MEGA

This came after the pop star's estate sold half of his catalog to Sony Music Group for $600 million.

Co-executors John Branca and John McClain said they negotiated the recent sale because the asset market is the "hottest it had ever been," according to court documents obtained by Radar.

The details of the deal haven't been made public, but the estate said it will maintain control of "all critical decisions relating to the exploitation of Michael’s name, image and likeness rights, to protect and preserve his legacy." It will also reportedly "continue to exercise day-to-day control over merchandising and monetization of the estate’s trademarks and related rights."

Rolling Stone was in court on Friday, March 8 when Katherine's lawyer Robert E. Allen called out the executors.

"On March 1, I sent letter to the estate asking for an explanation as to the authority they used as the basis in order to proceed with the transaction, and – crickets. No response at all," he said. "We don’t understand why this is not contempt of this court."

He now wants a court date set regarding whether Branca will be held in contempt. But that seems unlikely.

"I didn’t preclude them from entering into the transaction," said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who's been overseeing the case since Michael's death in 2009.

"The estate wanted an order saying they could proceed with the transaction and be insulated from liability. They were asking for a blessing in a sense that they would not be liable, personally, for the transaction if they got sued. So, now, they’re liable for the transaction if they get sued."

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There are currently several issues the estate is facing that have prevented it from making payments to Katherine, as well as Michael's three children Paris, Prince and Bigi.

Those include a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over $700 million in alleged unpaid taxes.

Two of Michael's companies are being sued by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who have accused the pop star of molesting them.

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Michael Jackson
Source: MEGA

Katherine is not happy with the deal and wants one of the estate's executors held in contempt.

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The legal disputes are playing out ahead of an upcoming biopic called Michael, where the star will be played by his nephew Jaafar Jackson.

The first image of the actor dressed as the King of Pop was shared on social media last month.

"Photograph by the renowned photographer Kevin Mazur, who documented Michael’s final rehearsal, and is now the first to photograph Jaafar in character as Michael," the caption says.

Michael Jackson
Source: MEGA

A judge explained that the executors had the authority to make the sale but opened themselves up to legal liability.

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The photographer said Jaafar has managed to recreated his uncle's personality and mannerisms.

"When I arrived for my first day on the set of this movie, I was so excited – it was like the first time I went on tour to shoot Michael Jackson," Mazur said in a statement obtained by Deadline.

"When I walked onto the set, I felt like I’d gone back in time and I was walking into the stadium to shoot the tour. Seeing Jaafar perform, I thought, ‘Wow, it is Michael.’ The way he looks and acts, his mannerisms, everything – he’s Michael Jackson. For anyone who didn’t have the chance to see Michael perform live during his lifetime – this is how it was."


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