In sometimes emotional testimony, Michael Jackson’s nephew on Thursday said that his uncle had inspired him to “be ambitious, be giving, be loving, be honest and to make your mark on the world.”
Asked about his relationship with his uncle, TJ Jackson lowered his head and was silent for several seconds.
"He was just everything," he said, wiping away tears.
TJ Jackson said his uncle came to his aid after his mother was killed when he was 16. "...my world crumbled and my uncle Michael saved it. He was there. He kept me inspired. Kept me ambitious and he was just there for me.”
TJ Jackson is the son of Michael Jackson's brother and fellow Jackson 5 member Tito. Along with Michael Jackson's mother, he is co-guardian of the singer's three children.
Now 34, TJ Jackson said he considers Michael Jackson his mentor, although he ignored his uncle's advice to stay in school after being accepted to attend the University of Pennsylvania, instead forging ahead with his brothers in the singing group 3T.
TJ Jackson said it was important for him to watch over his uncle's children. “He was there for me when I lost my mother," Jackson said. "I don’t think I could live properly the rest of my life if I didn’t give 100% to my cousins if they didn’t turn out the way he wanted them to be. “
When Michael Jackson was alive, he said, the children weren't allowed to watch TV during the week, and he alluded to a dispute that led to the firing of the children's longtime nanny because she tried to follow the singer's wishes, while other family members disagreed. "She wanted to follow my uncle's child raising," he said.
TJ Jackson blasted the paparazzi trying to get photos of Prince, Paris and Blanket, calling them "a complete annoyance. It’s awful and I think there should be laws against it.” He said he would support laws limiting their access to minors.
"In my opinion, I know it's making everything harder for the kids to grieve and recover and progress," he said.
Jackson talked about the three children. Prince Jackson, 16, who testified Wednesday, "was always my uncle’s little assistant," he said. "He was always very mature for his age and very smart."
Paris, 15, "was daddy’s girl. My uncle was her world. My uncle gave them more love. For it to be taken away has been very challenging for her."
He described Jackson's youngest son, known by the nickname Blanket, as always wrapped around his father's leg.
Katherine Jackson and the singer's three children are suing AEG Live, the entertainment company that was producing and promoting Michael Jackson's 50 comeback concerts in London, and two of its executives. They say the company negligently hired and controlled Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave the singer the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. AEG says that Murray worked for Jackson and that any money the company was supposed to pay him was an advance to the singer. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
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