New York: The validity of Michael Jackson’s will has yet again being questioned, this time in federal court.
Howard Mann, a memorabilia dealer who published a tribute book with matriarch Katherine Jackson two years ago, filed legal documents on Monday claiming that he was “in possession of evidence that casts substantial doubt on the validity of the will.”
He told the New York Daily News on Wednesday that he hopes to present the evidence in court when a copyright battle centered on the book goes to trial next month.
He’s currently fighting with the estate’s executors over intellectual property contained in the book and a website created to sell it.
“I am not backing down from my court fight with these guys. I’m not interested in settling with them. I came out and said these guys were a fraud two years ago,” Mann said.
“I have many people who will come and give testimony that the entire administration is a fraud and a collusive operation designed to take assets away from Katherine and Michael’s kids,” he said.
Asked about his alleged “evidence,” Mann echoed a recent claim by Janet Jackson and her siblings Randy and Rebbie that the 2002 will is “fake” because it was signed with a Los Angeles dateline while in actuality the King of Pop was in New York at an event with the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The estate executors had dubbed Janet’s accusation “false and defamatory,” rooted in “stale Internet conspiracy theories” that had been “thoroughly debunked.”
Mann said that he also might call experts to the stand to question so-called “variances” in handwriting on the will and errors in the spellings of the legendary singer’s children’s names.
“I have no ability to contest the will. It’s not up to me to prove its validity. All I have to do is prove they don’t own certain copyrights,” he said.
Janet’s lawyer issued a statement on Friday, which said that the “Control” singer, Randy and Rebbie would “press forward in their search for the truth.”
“It is important to stress that Janet, Randy and Rebbie have questioned the validity of the will with no financial motive whatsoever - they stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid,” the lawyer said, noting that Michael’s children are his beneficiaries either way.
“What will be gained by a finding of invalidity is that the executors will be replaced and the estate and the guardianship will be managed in a manner that is in the best interests of the children, which is what Michael wanted,” the lawyer added.