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Michael Jackson: A Mother's Story

Jackson's mother, Katherine, speaks out in her only television interview about her son's death and who is responsible; how her grandchildren are coping and her relationship with them; and how the family will be marking the first anniversary of his death.
Michael jackson, Katherine Jackson
Michael Jackson, background, and his mother Katherine Jackson Robyn Beck / AP

This report airs Dateline Friday, June 25, 9 p.m./8 C. The full hour will not be available online.

One year ago tonight, fans across the globe were in mourning for a star who had risen so high and then fallen so far. Michael Jackson was gone at the age of only 50, dead from a drug overdose. His death made as many headlines as his life.

A parade of show business royalty turned out for the funeral services that followed. His brothers and sisters stood together in a rare display of family unity. Even rarer were the public words from Jackson’s daughter Paris.

Through it all, one woman at the center of Michael Jackson’s life has kept her grief largely to herself. Katherine Jackson, the mother who raised nine kids, and who is now parent to Michael’s three children, is breaking her silence in a candid – and at times surprising – interview done just last week.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I wanted to shed some light on who Michael really was.

She talks about the last painful year...

KATHERINE JACKSON: There’s not a day go by that I don’t think about my son.

About how she’s now raising the daughter and two sons he left behind...

KATHERINE JACKSON: I never did like the fact that he put, um, scarfs or veils over their faces...

And about Debbie Rowe, the biological mother to Michael Jackson’s two older children….

KATHERINE JACKSON: I hadn’t met her before Michael died.

In this interview, Katherine Jackson also reveals how she believes her superstar son predicted his own death.

KATHERINE JACKSON: He told me several times that he felt that people wanted him gone, wanted him dead.

And she also has her own opinion of who’s to blame for her son’s death.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I want justice done.  

Mrs. Jackson sat down for this interview with Sonia Lowe, an occasional journalist with whom she’s in the process of publishing this coffee-table book of personal memories, entitled “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

KATHERINE JACKSON: It brought back a lot of memories and then it brought back a lot of tears, but all in all, I had fun writing it.

NBC News purchased the rights to the interview from the production company that made it. Mrs. Jackson says she gave the interview not just to promote her book, but because she hoped that sitting down for only one interview would provide a little privacy for herself and her family, as the one year anniversary passes of the worst day in all their lives.

KATHERINE JACKSON: My family and I are not planning, haven’t talk or planned anything about this first anniversary—first year anniversary of Michael’s passing. And one reason why I’m doing this interview is I think that—I hope that the paparazzis and everyone would just respect our privacy during this difficult time and would leave us alone. 

The book – which is being sold only online – includes hundreds of photos from the family’s collection, as well as personal reminiscences from Katherine, like this one: The day she realized young Michael had musical talent.

KATHERINE JACKSON: We had a Maytag washing machine, and it was rickety when the agitators would go, you know how they go [imitates sound]. This one was so rickety that it had a [imitates sound] kinda like that, and Michael was there on the floor wearing his diaper and his little bottle, and he just was dancing to the rhythm of what the washing machine made.

It’s memories like that of her remarkable boy that keep Katherine Jackson smiling. It’s been a difficult twelve months. 

KATHERINE JACKSON: It’s been hard. It really has been hard. But with the friends and loved ones and family around me, I’m doing ok, especially with prayer. So, it helped me cope.

At 80, Katherine Jackson has lived both a charmed life, and a difficult one. She survived childhood polio and the death of a son, Brandon, shortly after he was born.

But the woman who sewed the suits the Jackson 5 wore to perform also saw her children excel in show business, and watched as one of them reached its zenith in concerts around the world.

Today, that son is gone, and Katherine Jackson is left with a question for the boy she loved and lost.

KATHERINE JACKSON: It would be so many things I’d like to say to him but I would really would wanna know what happened?

Part 2

Unlike so much of her clan, Katherine Jackson has shunned the spotlight even as she supported Michael and his siblings singing, dancing and even moon-walking to greater and greater fame.

In this exclusive interview, she says her favorite songs are “Man of War” by the Jackson 5…

KATHERINE JACKSON: I love the message. Says, ‘Don’t go to war no more. Steady peace because peace is all we need.’

And “Man in the Mirror” from Michael Jackson’s solo act.

Katherine went to every concert she could.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I’d have to say my favorite concerts of Michael’S—all of ‘em. I never got tired of seeing it over and over and over again. Because I thought that they were just that great.

Her favorite tour, she says now, was the brothers’ Victory Tour in 1984.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Especially the Victory Tour. I love that one because it had all of my sons in it. All six.

She says she never played favorites among those children, but she also knew that Michael was exceptionally talented and, at the same time, committed to his talent. The remarkable choreography he showed in “Thriller” required hours of practice at home.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Every Sunday he would go upstairs in our—we have another room up over the garage, and he made it into a little studio for dancing and exercising, and he would go up there and dance for two hours straight without stopping. So he wanted to be ready for his 2 hour concert. And so it paid off. 

All of that preparation may have paid off the most at the 25th anniversary Motown Special. Katherine was in the audience when her second-youngest son changed the world of music with a new dance move.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Mike was on the show with his brothers and he did some songs with his brothers, and all the brothers left the stage, and I was surprised they were leaving him up there alone. And I was thinking, ‘Now what is he going to do?’

And then ...

KATHERINE JACKSON: That’s the first time I saw him do the moon-walk. And the theater went crazy. They just went wild.

She also tells a story of a famous son who didn’t always do what his mother wanted. Remember Bubbles? Michael was in his early twenties and still living in the family home when he adopted the pet chimp.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I didn’t know he was gonna bring him home because he had talked about getting a chimpanzee, and so I told one of the trainers I don’t want a monkey here. About a week or two later, Michael brought him home and I was shocked to find out that they act so much like humans. He would go and stand in front of you and hold his little hands up for you to pick him up. Just adorable and everybody fell in love with him.

Under the terms of their religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses like Katherine aren’t supposed to celebrate birthdays or holidays, but she says Michael always made sure she was well taken care of.

KATHERINE JACKSON: They gave me a party and invited my favorite pianist, and then, there was a long ribbon all the way to where I was sitting, and they had me follow the ribbon like follow the yellow brick road. Follow the ribbonthere was a Rolls Royce with a big ribbon on top of it. They had told Janet to shop for a car of my favorite color.  She had bought a big red Rolls Royce.

Michael’s generosity and his desire to “heal the world,” she says, were apparent from a very early age.

KATHERINE JACKSON: You remember when they used to show the little African kids starving to death, flies all around their mouth? We, Michael and I, would lay there on the floor watching TV…

Michael would look up at me and said, ‘Mother,’ he said, ‘one day’ – he was only a kid then – ‘I’m going to do something about this.’

Katherine says he kept his promise, sending boxes and boxes of food to people who needed it, paying tuition for those who couldn’t afford it.

After he got old enough to manage his own money and do things, everything he did was for the children.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I was very proud of him because he remembered and he gave, up until his last day. 

Katherine says she knows her children made sacrifices in the name of professional success, and she also says Michael in particular lamented the boyhood years he spent onstage.

More than once during his life, Michael Jackson talked about how he blamed his father Joe for that lost childhood—he even said his father physically abused him, which Joe Jackson denies. In this interview, Katherine Jackson didn’t talk about the relationship she witnessed between father and son. But, over the years, that bitterness Michael Jackson had expressed over his childhood never seemed to extend to his mother... And from her point of view, her son seemed to have few, if any, regrets about the price he paid for fame.

KATHERINE JACKSON: He talked about he missed his childhood, which he did, but then, he also said he loved what he’s doing now and he wouldn’t have had it any other way…I imagine he must have liked it a lot because he could have stopped performing anytime he wanted to, and he kept on doing it. He loved what he was doing. Since he was young.

Part 3

For the last year, Katherine Jackson has shouldered a painful burden. There are few things more sad than a mother burying her own child. She’s dealt not only with that, but now with a double role as both grandmother and mother to three young children.

With the death of Michael Jackson, his children – 13-year-old Michael Jackson, Jr. (known as Prince Michael), 12-year-old daughter Paris, and 8-year-old son Prince Michael II (known as Blanket) – were suddenly without the father who had raised them and protected them.  

PARIS JACKSON, AT THE MEMORIAL: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much.

Heartbroken and stunned, the Jackson family stood by the children at the televised memorial. But Michael named only one family member as their guardian in his will: His mother.

MARC SCHAFFEL: She went through something that no parent should ever have to go through. And she’s raising Michael’s children.

Marc Schaffel was a business partner and cameraman for Michael Jackson. When Katherine wanted to do this interview, Schaffel says she sought him out to produce it.

MARC SCHAFFEL: She is just really, really an incredible person. I mean, she’s a role model …what Michael saw in her all along. I mean, she is supportive. She’s there. She’s protective. You know, she’s been around. She knows the world. And that’s the type of person Michael—entrusted her.

Katherine has helped the children get through some hard times. It’s been obvious how much they miss their dad.

To the world, he was the pop star who made “Bad” so good, but to his kids, he was just dad.

Katherine tells the story of now-12-year-old Paris decorating her bedroom. She only wanted one image on her walls.

KATHERINE JACKSON: She went into her closet and she brought five pictures out of Michael. She wanted one over each bed. She wanted over the desk, she wants nothing but Daddy’s pictures, she said, in her room. So I guess she goes to bed looking at him and she gets up looking at him.

And she’s seen them become closer to the rest of the Jackson kids—their cousins—who have kept them company.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Yes, well, they have lots of cousins and uncles. They’ve been in their life since day one after, and also, after Michael passed, they even been closer. One or two of them are there every day

Like a proud grandma, she brags a bit.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Kids are doing fabulous. They’re doing good and they’re straight A students.

All three are being home-schooled, and, though there have been reports that the children will attend a traditional school in the L.A. area, Katherine says that decision hasn’t been made. 

KATHERINE JACKSON: If we continue to give them home schooling or if we take them to private school…we’re thinking about looking at private school for them. Blanket’s not ready yet. Paris had said she’s not ready either. They went to check out some schools with their cousin Tito’s boys. They she liked it, so she said she wants to go, so we’ll see what happens in September.

She says all three are discovering their own talents.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Prince loves the camera, and they were doing this with Michael before Michael passed because he wanted to be behind scenes and doing movies and things like that, so Prince was working with him. [Paris] loves the piano and she also… I’m thinking about, well, have been looking for a piano teacher for him, her. And she can pick out any song that she wants to, especially her daddy’s songs. [Blanket], he loves to sing and he plays with his toys most of the time. He’s very young yet.

Paris//wants to be an actress and she is already [laughs], but she wants to play the piano and she still plays it but um she plays by ear. And Blanket, he can carry a tune very well and he has rhythm. And he can dance.

And this may surprise you: Katherine says that for some time, Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket had no idea that their daddy was a musical superstar, wowing audiences from Bangkok to Bucharest. 

KATHERINE JACKSON: No. At one time they didn’t even know. Cause he never did let them know what he was doing, never did show them any videos of himself or anything – or DVDs, as you call them now.

But now they know. Their father changed the face of music ... And dance...

There have been some glitches... Marc Schaffel says 80-year-old Katherine didn’t realize that the internet can be an issue when parenting young children. That’s perhaps how Paris’s personal videos showed up briefly on youtube.

Michael hadn’t let the kids watch regular TV or go on the Internet. Apparently, they took a little advantage of Grandma until she caught on.                  

She’s tried to give the children a calmer, maybe more normal life than the one their father gave them. They now live in one place, they’re no longer a family on the move from country to country, and gone are the masks that Michael Jackson made his kids wear in public.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Uh no. I never did like the fact that he put, um, scarfs or veils over their faces. I didn’t, so that’s why I didn’t do it. Because as long as we have them protected with security guards, I think that’ll—that’s fine. And I know sooner or later the children, after they got older, which they are now, they wouldn’t want that, so I stopped it. I didn’t do it.

But Katherine knows she has a special duty to ensure that Blanket, Paris and Prince Michael are taken care of the best she can.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Out of all the people in Michael’s life, I think Michael adored his children more than anything else. And they adored him.

And you might be surprised to whom she’s turning for help.

Part 4

The world first came to know him as a kid, but Michael Jackson grew up to be the world’s most famous bachelor.

Then came a marriage made in tabloid heaven to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of a legend approximately the same wattage as her new husband. They said it would never last—and they were right.

After the two were divorced, Michael Jackson had started to worry that he would never become a father. Hearing that, Debbie Rowe, a nurse working for Jackson’s dermatologist, came forward with an unusual offer.

DEBBIE ROWE: I said, if you want to be a daddy, I want to do it.

In 1996, she became pregnant with Jackson’s first child.  It raised eyebrows across the world, in part because it didn’t seem to be a romance. Even by the standards of what constituted typical behavior from the eccentric superstar, it was a surprise.

DEBBIE ROWE: I would never do this for money. I did this because I love him. That’s the only reason I did this.

Later that year, they were married in Sydney, Australia. Katherine Jackson was not present. Three months later, Michael Jackson, Jr. – known as Prince – was born. Debbie talked about the new father.

DEBBIE ROWE: He feeds him. He changes his diapers, he reads to him, he sings to him. If he’s on the phone, the baby is in his arms. If he’s having a meeting, the baby is there. He takes naps with him. He is there, I don’t need to be there. I don’t need to be there because Michael is. I’d have nothing to do.

A daughter, Paris, was born in 1998. A third child, Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, was born later to a surrogate mother whose identity has never been revealed.

Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe divorced in 1999, with Debbie giving up her parental rights in return for a cash settlement and a home in Beverly Hills.

After Jackson was accused of child molestation for the second time in 2004, Rowe went to court to try to reclaim custody. A year later, on the stand in Jackson’s criminal trial, she said he’d been a great father and that she saw the children every 45 days for about eight hours. The custody case hadn’t been resolved when Michael Jackson died.

MARC SCHAFFEL: After Michael had passed away, there was a concern about what was happening with the children. For Debbie, I had extended out a little bit to some people to see if we could make a connection with some family members.

Marc Schaffel is more than the producer of the promotional interview for Katherine Jackson’s book, he says he was also, after Jackson’s death, the go-between for his friend Debbie Rowe and Katherine Jackson. 

In her interview, Katherine Jackson reveals something surprising. Despite Debbie Rowe’s marriage to Michael and her role as biological mother of Michael’s two older children, Debbie and Katherine didn’t know each other.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I hadn’t met her before Michael died. We met and we clicked right away.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ:  You actually brokered the sort of first meeting between Mrs. Jackson and Debbie.

MARC SCHAFFEL: We got both parties together. No paparazzi. Nobody knew. No lawyers knew. No representatives knew. 

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: And how’d they get along at that first meeting?

MARC SCHAFFEL: They looked at each other. And tears just started running down both their eyes.

Katherine tells the same story.

KATHERINE JACKSON: We cried together. We talked. We had a nice time together because when we met it was just Michael we thought about, mostly, and the children.

After Jackson’s death, there was a lot of speculation about what Debbie Rowe would want to do...

KATHERINE JACKSON: All the rumors about Debbie Rowe wanting to take the children away—completely false. Debbie is happy about the arrangement the way Michael left it, and now she sees nothing wrong with me raising the children, and I respect her and love her for that.

MARC SCHAFFEL: She had no problem letting Mrs. Jackson—step into those shoes. She wants to be part of the children’s life.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: In the case of Paris and Prince, they know she’s their biological mother?

MARC SCHAFFEL: Yes. Prince and Paris know that Debbie’s their biological mother.

Since that tearful first meeting, Debbie has been spending time with her two biological children, Prince and Paris, at the Jackson home – and with Blanket as well, so that he doesn’t feel left out.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: You know Debbie Rowe pretty well. Does she have any concern that those kids can’t be taken care of adequately by an 80-year-old woman?

MARC SCHAFFEL: Absolutely not. She has every faith that Mrs. Jackson will do a wonderful job. I mean, she’s got so much experience. You know, she’s—she’s raised nine children. 

According to Michael’s will, should something happen to Katherine, Diana Ross is next in line to care for the children. Schaffel says Debbie is also ready to help, if asked.

MARC SCHAFFEL: Debbie is the children’s biological mother. She will always be there for them. If Mrs. Jackson wasn’t available, Debbie would be right there.

For now, Debbie continues to spend time with the Jackson children, as she and Katherine figure out what’s best.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Debbie is the children’s biological mother, and I feel that she should be in their life and the children should know her.

Part 5

It’s called the Hayvenhurst House –the family home in Encino, California Joe Jackson bought in 1971.

It’s where Michael Jackson and his brothers and sisters grew up.

When Michael Jackson struck it rich, Katherine says he offered to find his mom something grander.

KATHERINE JACKSON: When he was 18 and had his own money, he said, ‘Mother, I’m going to buy you a new house,’ and we went shopping all over for a new house. And homes had gone up so expensive and we couldn’t find a piece of property we wanted.

So Jackson remodeled the Hayvenhurst home, and the Jackson family never left. Today, it’s where Katherine Jackson lives with Michael Jackson’s kids.

It’s a place that’s still dear to Katherine.

KATHERINE JACKSON: The children love it too. They swim, they play football, basketball…everything. And because it was from Michael, now I don’t think I want to move.

But, it turns out, in the last years of Michael Jackson’s life, Katherine was actually at risk of losing that beloved family home, all because of Michael’s precarious financial situation:

ETHAN SMITH: Things were pretty bad for him.

Ethan Smith of The Wall Street Journal has been covering the turmoil surrounding Michael Jackson’s finances for years.

ETHAN SMITH: He was behind on mortgage payments, on utility bills. The Los Angeles Water and Power Company was gonna shut off service. Indy Mac was going to file a foreclosure notice on what ended up being the day after he died. 

It’s no secret that Michael Jackson liked to spend the money he made, particularly as he got older. There were shopping sprees, lengthy hotel stays, trips around the world, legal bills, and an entourage longer and hungrier than a Vegas buffet line.Jackson – who may have earned more than a billion dollars during his life, was half a billion dollars in debt when he died.

ETHAN SMITH: It’s a little macabre to say, but the best thing that could have happened to Jackson’s business appears to have been Jackson exiting the scene.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: Because his death created this huge public surge of interest in him again?  And he’s not around to spend any of that money?

ETHAN SMITH: He’s not around to spend the money, go on multimillion dollar shopping sprees. There’s some order here where there was nothing but chaos before.

Bringing order to chaos, says Smith, has been the work of the estate’s executors. They are aggressively managing the estate as a business.

ETHAN SMITH: They’re making all kinds of licensing deals, partnerships. They’re being responsible about dealing with debt.  And they’re making a ton of money on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate, Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson’s children.

Jackson has generated something like $200 million in the last year, thanks in part to the blockbuster “This Is It.” In terms of earnings, he’s ahead of Elvis and John Lennon –people who are larger than life, even in death.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: So, in a weird way, this last year has been his best year in a long time?

ETHAN SMITH: His records have been selling like it was the peak of his career. He had the best performing concert film of all time. I mean, he’s—you know, he’s kind of vaulted back to the superstar status that, you know, he really hadn’t seen since the early or maybe mid-80s.

There’s still $300 million in debt coming due this year, but Smith says discussions are underway about restructuring that, and the estate is likely to keep generating significant income for years to come.

Still, Howard Mann, Katherine Jackson’s collaborator on her new coffee table book “Never Can Say Goodbye,” says one of the main reasons she agreed to do the book is because she needs the money.  

HOWARD MANN: She is trying to maintain several properties, several homes and, I mean, hers is not a lifestyle that’s—that’s readily affordable.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: So the money from this book is actually gonna come in handy?

HOWARD MANN: I would like to think that, with this project, she can live out the rest of her years without ever having a financial worry again.

Mann says he’s just trying to help both Katherine Jackson and himself at the same time, and that he’s not one of the many hangers-on who, over the years, tried to hitch their financial trailers to Michael Jackson.

ETHAN SMITH: If you kind of go back over his life, there was always this cast of characters coming in and out who—you know, either were doing business on his behalf or purporting to do business on his behalf.  Many of whom were, you know, really pretty shady.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: And all of whom had their hand out.


Even though he’s gone, Michael Jackson is still a bankable star, and a possible fortune may be waiting from some of the untapped material he’s left behind.  For example, Howard man says he has 273 master tapes of unreleased Michael Jackson recordings, and wants to publish those songs. But Jackson’s estate has already raised questions about who actually owns the rights to this possible treasure: Mann, the estate, or the mother and children Jackson left behind.

Part 6

When someone you love dies, it’s natural to think of how and when you saw them last. Katherine Jackson is no different.  

KATHERINE JACKSON: The last time I saw Michael before he passed away was about a week and a half… and I had gone to visit him. The children were there, we talked, we played around and had fun together. And Michael even showed me a movie, cause he had a new instrument there. It was really nice, he just played on the bedroom wall. And that was the last time I can remember seeing my son alive.

Since then, Katherine has tried to remember her son in his happier times.

KATHERINE JACKSON: I never looked at him after he passed. I—I don’t like doing that. I wanted to remember him smiling and laughing and having a good time the last time I saw him.

What still angers her are the tough times, like the accusations, starting in the early ‘90s, that Michael Jackson was a child molester.

MICHAEL JACKSON: These statements about me are totally false.

KATHERINE JACKSON: He used to come to me sometimes and tell me, and he said, ‘Mother, just think of what I love most in this world are children, and I’d rather slit my own wrist before I hurt a child, and this is what they’re trying to pin on me.’ And  I just want them to know that Michael wasn’t like that.

Remember, Jackson was accused in 1993 of molesting a young boy. He settled with his accuser without admitting any wrongdoing. In a separate case in 2005, he was criminally charged with molestation and was acquitted by a jury. During that trial, Katherine was the only Jackson family member to attend every court hearing. In the interview, she wasn’t asked about the molestation charges, but she raised it herself.

KATHERINE JACKSON: The first child that they tried to accuse Michael, he had come forward and said Michael didn’t touch him. And he had said that before, but he was afraid because he was afraid of his father. But the father has committed suicide since he came out and told it. So, maybe his conscience was bothering him. The reason he did it…I don’t know.

Mrs. Jackson is apparently referring to an Internet rumor shortly after Michael Jackson died, suggesting that her son’s 1993 accuser admitted he lied. In fact, there’s no evidence to support that.

A source close to the boy’s family tells Dateline that the boy never recanted his story and that, while the boy’s father did commit suicide, it had nothing to do with the accusations against Jackson. The man suffered from a rare and painful leukemia.

But Katherine Jackson still sees her son as a victim, set upon by people who wanted his money and would do anything to get it. In her interview, she says Michael believed it, too.

KATHERINE JACKSON: He felt that people wanted him gone, wanted him dead. He would always say that. And, for him to say that, he must have known something. It’s just some of the mean, evil, vicious people didn’t want him around for some reason. They’re greedy. That’s what it is. Don’t take that out. They are greedy.

It is true that, over his life, Michael Jackson associated himself with all kinds of people—associations which often only he seemed to understand—and sometimes it became a public problem for him. For example, Jackson said he was shocked a few years ago when he learned that Marc Schaffel, whose production company did Katherine Jackson’s interview, is a former producer of X-rated videos.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: When you started working for Michael Jackson, did he know that you had produced pornography?

MARC SCHAFFEL: Well—that part I’m—I’m really not gonna get into. Cause that—that’s so far past. I mean what—what business I had prior really didn’t matter because obviously I was still there after the fact.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: So it clearly didn’t matter to him.

MARC SCHAFFEL: Clearly didn’t matter.

JOSH MANKIEWICZ: Does Mrs. Jackson know?  Does it matter to her?

MARC SCHAFFEL: Well, I—I don’t have the conversation with Mrs. Jackson. [chuckle] But again—I don’t think Mrs. Jackson is judgmental on people as far as things like that go.

Howard Mann also has an interesting resume. In addition to publishing Katherine Jackson’s book, “Never Can Say Goodbye,” he is also the owner of something called The Naked Women’s Wrestling League.

In her interview, Katherine Jackson doesn’t talk about Mann’s other businesses. And if she’s not judgmental about Marc Schaffel, she is about one person—the last person to see Michael Jackson alive.

FIRE PARAMEDIC 33: What is your address for your emergency?

MALE: Yes, sir. I need to—I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.

Cardiologist Conrad Murray is charged with manslaughter. Prosecutors say he gave Jackson a fatal dose of the surgical-grade anesthetic Propofol, which Jackson had been using for some time to help him sleep.

In this interview, Katherine Jackson never comments on her son’s drug use. And though she doesn’t use his name, she lays the blame for his death at Dr. Murray’s feet. 

KATHERINE JACKSON: Of course it could have been prevented because he hired a doctor to watch over him. And the doctor was negligent.

Dr. Murray has pled not guilty. His spokeswoman told Dateline that, while he cares deeply for Michael Jackson’s family and doesn’t want to judge them in their mourning process, he continues to maintain that he neither prescribed nor administered anything that should have killed Michael Jackson.

Dr. Murray’s odyssey through the criminal justice system is continuing. He’s next due in court in August.  But whatever ultimately happens to Dr. Murray, Katherine Jackson says it won’t bring her peace.

KATHERINE JACKSON: Whatever happened now wouldn’t bring my son back, but I want justice done.   And I think when the trial is over, I hope it’s done. But, for me to be at peace, I don’t know.

From his birthplace in Gary, Indiana, to his final resting place in Glendale, California, this was a day of remembrance for Michael Jackson’s fans, friends, and family. But tomorrow and the day after, Katherine Jackson will go back to the home in Encino where she raised her children and now Michael’s. Watching over the kids—that’s this mother’s story.