Jackson Parents Join Son's Defense

Dec. 11, 2003 -- Michael Jackson's parents are joining their son's defense, saying the child molestation charges leveled against the pop star are false, and promising to adopt his children should he lose custody of them.

"We're not going to let nobody take those kids," Joe Jackson said in an interview airing Monday on Britain's ITV network. "They're Michael's kids. They has no right to try to take those kids."

Watch exclusive excerpts from the British documentary on this Friday's 20/20.

Jackson has two children, Prince Michael I, 6, and Paris, 5, from his three-year marriage to Debbie Rowe. His third child, Prince Michael II, was born to an unidentified woman in 2002. The singer's own parents are worried that authorities may try to take away the children.

"It's going to be a big mess over that," said Jackson's mother, Katherine, adding, "I don't want to think that, because that would be really mean — just take his children from him like that for nothing. It's not right. They're just trying to humiliate him."

In the interview, Katherine Jackson told journalist Daphne Barak her son would be devastated if he were to lose custody of his children, but said she would be "right there" to adopt them if he did.

"They're my grandkids. I have to," Jackson's father added.

‘Don't Worry, It's Not the Truth’

The Jacksons say Michael reacted calmly when the initial news of the allegation and charges broke, and has remained strong through the media firestorm fueled by the accusation.

"You know he was strong," said Katherine Jackson. "He said, 'Mother, don't worry, it's not the truth.' But I told him you don't know these wicked people, the people are just mean and wicked. I know it's not the truth, but they'll tarnish your reputation. … It's just sad the way they're doing him and it's not right. He's stronger than I am about it."

"Knowing Michael, as a father, I know that he doesn't do things like that — his mother knows it too," says Joe Jackson.

‘They All Want Money’

Jackson's mother says both the current and 1993 child molestation allegations leveled against her son were motivated by money. "People don't realize, and they don't care, that's what it is, they all want money," she said, saying the allegations hurt the entire Jackson family. "He has a family, he has a mother and a father, and he has nieces and nephews that go to school … We don't deserve this. We're good citizens, we treat everybody right. So why do we have to go through this? It's not right."

Jackson dismisses both the current allegation and the previous allegation that arose in 1993. "They know he hasn't done anything. The very first time, it was conspiracy for money. I had so many people later to come and tell me a lot of things about that. But, then Michael had a gag order on him, he couldn't talk about it. And, why would they wanna put a gag order on him? If he did it you know he wouldn't talk about it. But, they know that he didn't."

She also questioned why parents of alleged molestation victims would seek money in such case. "If someone came and molested your son would you ask 'em for money? … No, you wouldn't ask 'em for money, would you? The first thing you would do, would beat their behind … is, beat 'em up real good, and then you would call the cops on 'em. Wouldn't you? … This was a conspiracy. This man was trying to get money out of Michael all the time. And after he didn't get it, then…they trumped up these charges on him, and that's not the truth."

‘No One Knows How Much He Does’

The Jacksons insist the recent molestation allegations against Michael and similar accusations he faced in a 1993 case were motivated by money and are false.They say their son is a good father whose generosity and good works often go unnoticed in the media.

"People just misrepresent Michael when they say these ugly things about him. He loves children," said Katherine Jackson.

"We used to sit up and watch television, and they'd show all the poor children around the world — these children were so sick, flies flying all around their mouth — and he'd sit there and tears would come in his eyes, and he'd say, 'One day I'm going to do something about this.' This was when he was very young … he was a teenager. He'd say, 'I know I can't heal the world, but I can help.' "

Joe Jackson added: "He has helped so many people — grown people and kids. And he gives to all kind of charities and things. That never hits the news. That's the only thing I worry about, because no one never knows how much he does."

Raising the Jackson Kids

In the interview, the Jacksons also touch on the upbringing of their nine children, which has been the subject of much public scrutiny over the years.

"I think I was a good father," said Joe Jackson. "I raised them and I fed them and kept plenty of clothes on them. We didn't have much, but what we had we was happy with."

Katherine Jackson says she would change two things about how her children were raised.

"The world is wicked today," she said. "You can't change the things that you really want to change. What I would do is I'd make sure that they took time out to go to college. And I wish they were a little more spiritual than what they are, because they grew up going to Kingdom Hall with me. And, you know, I can't make them, because they're grown-ups now, but that's one of the things."

She added: "I did what I could back then."

Asked which of his kids is the most talented, Joe Jackson hedged a bit. "Let me name you three, right quick," he said. "It would be Michael, it would be Jermaine, and it would be Janet."

Watch the full interview Friday, Dec. 12, on 20/20 at 10 p.m.