A critical hearing in Katherine Jackson’s elder abuse case was delayed Thursday amid a new battle to force her return from London.
Lawyers for nephew Trent Jackson won the continuance saying the matriarch must appear in person for the court to be sure she wants a permanent restraining order barring Trent from her life.
“She needs to be here. If she’s here and she says Trent abused her, so be it,” Trent’s lawyer Ron Rale said outside the courtroom.
“He loves his aunt. He cares for his aunt. He wants the best for her,” Rale said.
Katherine won a temporary restraining order against Trent last month and claimed in a follow-up sworn statement she’s “tired of being subjected to his manipulation, mistreatment, abuse of my finances and bullying.”
She said Trent, the nephew of her husband Joe Jackson, isolated her from her kids in recent years, screened her calls, copied the key to her bedroom, yelled at her, stole her money and refused to call 911 once when she thought she was having a stroke or seizure.
“I have been afraid to fire him out of fear of his retaliation,” she wrote. “This time I am clear and resolute … Enough is enough.”
One of her lawyers said Thursday that it’s “ridiculous” to force the Jackson family matriarch to return from London — where she’s staying with daughter Rebbie — to prove she truly wants him fired.
“They’re trying to get an 86-year-old woman to come from London. They’re continuing (this matter) over and over, making Katherine come and face this guy. It makes no sense. She’s asked him to leave, and he doesn’t want to go. It’s more of the abuse. She has to spend more money on counsel. It’s just ridiculous,” lawyer Joy Bass said outside court.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu delayed the hearing until Tuesday and ordered several witnesses to return for possible testimony. He’s expected to rule on whether Katherine must appear in person by then.
One witness subpoenaed by Trent was Tito Jackson’s son TJ Jackson, a relative who’s acted as a co-guardian of Michael Jackson’s three kids along with Katherine.
TJ looked uncomfortable and waved hello to Katherine’s supporters as he was called into the gallery by the judge and ordered to return next week.
Often seen as a family peacemaker, TJ was a pivotal figure back in 2012 when Katherine was allegedly “kidnapped” by some of her adult kids and taken to Arizona.
Lawyers for Katherine, TJ and the King of Pop’s kids went to court saying Katherine went missing from her California home while she was supposed to be caring for Prince, Paris and Blanket, who were all minors at the time.
Katherine’s kids Jermaine, Randy, Janet and Rebbie countered that their mother was resting at an Arizona spa, and they subsequently released a letter accusing Michael Jackson’s executors of fraud.
A judge granted co-guardianship of Paris, Prince and Blanket to TJ during the family feud.
In recent filings for Katherine’s new restraining order against Trent, Jermaine said Katherine went to Arizona to “get rest” on her doctor’s orders. He said Trent turned violent when he and Janet tried to visit Katherine’s house amid the kidnapping allegations to tell Paris, Prince and Blanket their grandmother was “fine.”
“Trent started locking doors,” Jermaine recalled of the visit. “Trent hit my nephew in the jaw.”
Rale said Thursday that he subpoenaed TJ and wants Katherine present so all the dueling claims about what Katherine truly wants can be settled before a judge.
“Nobody wants to be dragged to court. We just want the truth,” he said.
“I’m not sure what TJ is going to say,” Rale continued. “He’s a guy that public records show (Katherine) trusts and loves.”
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