Jackson's 'Heal' Charity Is Ailing
03/25/2004 AT 10:09 AM EST
Unfortunately, the charity by that name, which the pop star launched in 1992, looks to become the latest casualty in Jacko's rapidly crumbling universe. Based on the singer's song of the same name, Heal the World was started to spread financial aid to children in war-torn and impoverished, diseased countries, the Associated Press reports.
But the charity, which has been quiet for a couple years, could be in trouble, sources say. If Heal the World folds, it could erode Jackson's popularity as an advocate for children. That could mean further difficulty for Jackson, 45, in his upcoming child molestation trial, AP reports.
At the height of its success, the charity donated about $4 million in a five-year period during the mid-1990s. However, in 2002, the last year for which information appeared available, the charity took in less than $4,000. Heal the World was only one of a number of high-profile charities Jackson helped sponsor, most of which have folded in recent years.
Elsewhere, Jackson was hit with more bad news on Wednesday. A California judge dismissed a number of the pop star's claims against Universal Music Group, stating that the Gloved One was not entitled to royalties from record sales dated before 1994, Reuters reports. At issue is a 1980 agreement in which Universal is allegedly supposed to pay Jackson royalties for recordings he made as a member of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist through the mid-1970s. Judge Emilie Elias had previously dismissed some of Jackson's claims earlier in the case. However, he allowed Jackson's claim of breach of contract against Universal to proceed.
Also, for those having difficulty keeping up with the latest Michael Jackson news, VH1 may be able to help. The music channel is planning an upcoming biopic of the pop singer, says the Hollywood Reporter. Titled "Family Values," the show will detail Jacko's life from his success with "Thriller" to his current problems, as well as some flashbacks to Michael's very early career. "We're big fans of Michael's. We're going to do our best to present the facts as truthfully as possible," said executive producer Jon Katzman.
USA Network also is reportedly developing a Jackson biography.
But one aspect of Jackson's ongoing legal drama that won't get much coverage is the grand jury that is being convened to indict the pop star on charges of molestation. On Wednesday, Judge Clifford R. Anderson III issued an order that prohibits photographs of jurors entering or leaving the courthouse or any attempts at communication with jurors, AP reports. Attorneys for media outlets objected, calling the order too "broad" and "sweeping."
The meeting of the grand jury is unusual in that Jackson has already been charged with his crime. Grand juries typically meet before formal charges are filed against a defendant, and are used for prosecutors to make their case against the accused. As such, the chances that Jackson would appear before this jury to defend himself is almost nil, Reuters reports.
"If Michael Jackson were to testify at the grand jury it would simply signal that his lawyers have lost control and that (he) is completely insane," said Stan Goldman, a professor at Loyola Marymount Law School in Los Angeles.