A celebrity lawyer vowed today to press on with a bid to have pop star Michael Jackson’s children taken into care after authorities in the US refused her request.
Gloria Allred has claimed that Jackson’s three children are in danger, in light of the child abuse allegations against him.
Officials in California rejected her appeal to have Prince Michael, seven, Paris, five, and baby Prince Michael II, taken into care but Ms Allred said she would take the matter to a juvenile court.
At the same time, Jackson’s former wife, Lisa Marie Presley, moved to clarify comments she made in an interview in Australia earlier this week.
She raised eyebrows when she said that during her relationship with Jackson she felt “powerless in a lot of ways, in terms of... realising that I was part of a machine, and seeing things going on that I couldn’t do anything about”.
She added: “Don’t ask me what sort of things because I’m not going to answer. But just stuff.”
Following the comments she was asked to go before a grand jury in California, which will decide whether Jackson should be brought to trial.
Amid mounting speculation as to what she meant, Presley, 35, issued a statement which said: “In saying, ’I saw things’ I was specifically referring to things in that relationship with us, that went on between us, at the time as husband and wife and that dynamic.
“I was in no way referring to seeing something inappropriate with children and, as I have stated before in other interviews, I never have.”
Jackson was charged in December with seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and two counts of giving the child an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges at an arraignment hearing in January. He has called the allegations a “big lie”.
But the latest child abuse allegations prompted lawyer Ms Allred to call on authorities in Santa Barbara, California, to take his children into care.
Ms Allred briefly represented a 13-year-old boy who filed a civil action against Jackson in 1993 and has been a long-term critic of the 45-year-old superstar.
After hearing that her request had been denied, she said she filed an application asking Los Angeles County Juvenile Court to begin proceedings to take the children from Jackson and place them in the care of the court.
But one of Jackson’s criminal lawyers, Benjamin Brafman, said: “I think it would be best if people who have nothing to do with these proceedings stayed out of them rather than looking at Mr Jackson’s case as a vehicle through which to engage in self-promotion.”
Last month Debbie Rowe, the mother of Prince Michael and Paris, struck a deal which saw her back off from launching a custody battle.
She reportedly promised to drop her legal challenge if Jackson publicly distanced himself from the Nation of Islam, which has been handling his security arrangements.