Coroner completes Jackson autopsy, film deal set
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Coroners have completed the autopsy report on the body of pop star Michael Jackson, but details remained under wraps on Monday as police probe the cause of the singer's death and his prescription drug use.
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said detectives requested the autopsy, which includes toxicology tests, remain sealed until their investigation was finished. He could not say when it would be completed and declined to offer more details.
Some media outlets reported that the "Thriller" singer's body has now been buried at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles, but that could not immediately be confirmed through a family spokesman. A cemetery spokesman declined to comment.
Police are looking into why the 50-year-old singer died suddenly of cardiac arrest on June 25. Numerous media reports have said officials are focused on Jackson's use of a powerful anesthetic called propofol to sleep. Police and federal agents have raided several offices of Jackson's doctors as part of their probe.
Meanwhile, the judge overseeing the singer's will said he had approved several business deals, including a $60 million agreement with Columbia Pictures to make a movie from video of the King of Pop's final rehearsals from a series of concerts that had been set to take place in London this past July.
Those shows were dubbed "This Is It" by Jackson, and the movie will be similarly titled. Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp's Sony Pictures Entertainment, said the film, due to be in theaters on October 30, will have performances and behind-the-scenes video of Jackson preparing for the concerts. Some of it will be shown in movie theaters in 3-D.
The judge also agreed to the re-issuance of the singer's autobiography, "Moonwalk," currently planned for October.
Lawyers spent much of Monday in court wrangling over merchandising deals still being planned and a traveling exhibition of Jackson memorabilia that concert promoter AEG Live, which had backed the London concerts, wants to mount.
An attorney for AEG Live, which spent as much as $30 million preparing for the comeback concerts, argued the company needed to move quickly to take advantage of the resurgence in the singer's popularity to help recoup its investment.
Several of the "Thriller" singer's albums, for instance, have returned to the top of the music charts in recent weeks, whereas before his death his CD sales had languished.
"The longer we wait, the more time passes. Frankly the less interest there will be on the part of the public to come see the exhibit," said Kathy Jorrie, an attorney for AEG Live.
Jackson was said to be as much as $500 million in debt when he died, but the value of his estate was reported to be as high as $1 billion given his part ownership in a music catalog and his control of his own songs.
Jorrie told the judge that attorneys for the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, have demanded AEG Live give the estate its rehearsal video, something that AEG is not willing to do.
(Editing by Eric Beech)