An online lottery will distribute only 17,500 tickets for Michael Jackson's public memorial service at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Tuesday.
About 1.6 million people registered for the lottery during the weekend. Each of the 8,750 people selected will get an exclusive code and instructions on how to obtain two free tickets. Eleven thousand fans will receive a seat in the Staples Center; the remaining 6,500 will be able to watch a simulcast from the neighboring Nokia Theater, said Tim Leiweke, CEO of sports and entertainment promoter AEG.
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On Friday, City Councilwoman Jan Perry encouraged fans to watch the memorial from home, as there will be a free pool feed available to television networks and for online streaming. There will be no funeral procession, no outdoor broadcast and the entire area surrounding the stadium will be closed to the public.
Officials did not release any further details about the content or format of the public memorial. The L.A. Times reported that a small, private ceremony for the family will precede the Staples Center event.
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Meanwhile, a police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has told several news outlets (including CNN, the Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Times) that a powerful sedative typically used for surgery was found at the house Jackson was renting immediately before his death. The drug, which is known generically as propofol and marketed commercially as Diprivan, has a milky appearance that has led to a nickname: "the milk of amnesia."
The Times interviewed several doctors who spoke of the drug's efficacy for short-term anesthesia needs: It can render patients unconscious within 40 seconds; they can be revived after an injection in as few as three minutes.
Cherilyn Lee, a nutritionist who worked for Jackson, said she refused the singer's request for the drug, and warned him of the danger of using it outside of a hospital setting.
In other news, questions remain about whether the biological mother of two of Jackson's three children will seek custody. The L.A. Times reported that Deborah Rowe's current attorney, Eric George, said she has not decided whether to pursue custody. (The mother of Jackson's youngest child, Prince Michael II, 7, is unknown.) But People reported that Rowe will fight for custody of Prince, 12, and Paris, 11. "Frankly, she won't have to fight for them," Iris Finsilver, Rowe's former attorney, tells the magazine. "She is the children's biological mother. She loves her children."
The discrepancy may stem from comments Rowe made to NBC4, an L.A. television station, in which she said, "I want my children. ... I am stepping up. I have to." George later told the Times that it would be a "distortion of the truth" to take Rowe's comments to NBC4 as her final decision in the matter.
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A court previously granted temporary custody of the children to Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother. The L.A. Times, citing a source close to the Jackson family, says that they intend to fight a challenge from Rowe and seek permanent custody.
In other updates:
Despite the announcement that the only public memorial will take place at the Staples Center, fans are sticking it out at Neverland Ranch, reports the L.A. Times.
CNN speculates on the expected media frenzy surrounding Tuesday's memorial service.
The New York Times has a slideshow tour of Jackson's (mostly empty) Neverland Ranch.
President Obama shrugs off controversy about his public statement about Jackson's death, calling him "one of our greatest entertainers," according to the Associated Press.
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