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Michael Jackson memorial likely Tuesday

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A public memorial for Michael Jackson is expected Tuesday in Los Angeles, a venue official said, as a lawyer for the pop star's ex-wife said she hasn't decided whether to fight for custody of their children.

Randy Phillips, chief executive of concert promoter AEG Live, told reporters on Thursday Jackson's much-anticipated memorial was being planned for the rock concert and sporting venue, the Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles.

Phillips said the memorial would probably be held on Tuesday but Jackson's mother had not made a final decision.

"They (the family) want to have it at Staples Center. The question is when," Phillips said.

AEG Live is part of a group of companies that controls events at the Staples Center. Phillips said details of the memorial in the 20,000-seat indoor arena were still being discussed but fans would not be charged for tickets.

Jackson's death on June 25 after suffering cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles mansion has provoked worldwide tributes from fans and musicians and sent many of his records back into the top of music charts.

Meanwhile Debbie Rowe -- the mother of Jackson's two eldest children, Prince Michael Jackson Jr. 12, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11 -- appeared to set the stage for a legal tussle with Jackson's parents over their future.

"I want my children," Rowe was quoted as telling NBC4 television in Los Angeles.

But her lawyer, Eric George, told reporters on Thursday that Rowe was still considering her position.

"I am representing to you now, Debbie has not reached a final decision concerning the pending custody proceedings," George said.

"DISTORTION OF THE TRUTH"

"I have no reason to doubt that what was reported from that conversation was accurately and ethically recorded, but that said, it would be a distortion of the truth to allow that single snapshot of a single conversation to stand as the truth of Debbie's position," he said.

Temporary guardianship was granted this week to Jackson's 79-year-old mother, Katherine Jackson. A 2002 will signed by Jackson specifically cut Rowe out of his estate and asked that his mother take care of the children.

Jackson did not mention his funeral wishes in that will. The Staples Center is the site of the singer's last rehearsals for a planned 50-concert comeback tour in London that was due to start on July 13 and was backed by AEG Live.

Video clips of a rehearsal two nights before he died, that showed Jackson looking thin but performing more like his old superstar self, were released to CNN on Thursday.

An official autopsy has been performed but toxicology tests won't be ready for weeks. Results of a private autopsy by a Jackson family doctor have not been released.

Law enforcement sources said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had been asked to help Los Angeles police in their investigation. Several bags of medicines have already been removed from Jackson's house by coroner's officials.

Speculation has swirled in the media that the 50-year-old pop star was abusing prescription drugs and perhaps intravenous drugs before comeback concerts this month in London.

His brother Jermaine Jackson said on Thursday that reports of Michael Jackson's possible drug use had hurt his family.

"Michael has always been a person who was against anything like that. ... But in this business the pressures and things that you go through, you never know what one turn(s) to," Jermaine said on NBC's "Today" show.

(Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant and Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

 
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