EXCLUSIVE: Jackson Patriarch Fears 'Foul Play' in Michael Jackson Death

Joe Jackson tells ABC News that he 'couldn't believe' son's death.

ByABC News
July 9, 2009, 10:33 PM

July 10, 2009 — -- Joe Jackson suspects "foul play" may have been involved in the sudden death of his son, Michael Jackson, he told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

In fact, the 79-year-old Jackson family patriarch was dumbfounded when he learned his 50-year-old son was being rushed to the hospital after collapsing at home on June 25, he told ABC News in an exclusive interview at the Jackson family compound in Encino, Calif.

"I just couldn't believe what was happening to Michael," he said.

"I do believe it was foul play," Jackson added. "I do believe that. Yes."

For more on Chris Connelly's exclusive interview with Joe Jackson, tune into a special edition of "Primetime: Family Secrets -- The Jackson Family: Life After Michael", Tuesday, July 14, 10 p.m. ET

The Jackson patriarch's claim comes as Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton suggested that the singer's death could be treated as a homicide if autopsy reports indicate that Jackson had been given illicit amounts of powerful prescription drugs.

"We are still awaiting corroboration from the coroner's office as to cause of death. That is going to be very dependent on the toxicology reports that are due to come back," Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton told CNN. "And based on those, we will have an idea of what it is we are dealing [with]: are we dealing with a homicide or are we dealing with accidental overdose?"

Speaking amid floral tributes to the late King of Pop, Joe Jackson said he wanted to know why Michael died so suddenly. He added that a second autopsy on his late son commissioned by the Jackson family has yet to reveal any answers.

Meanwhile, as world attention turned to the fate of Michael Jackson's three children, Joe Jackson left no doubt about what he thought would be best for Prince Michael I, 12, Paris-Michael Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, also known as Blanket.

"Their grandmother -- Katherine -- and I" should raise them, he said. "Yes, there's no one else to do what we can do for them. We should keep them all together and then make them happy, feed 'em like they're supposed to be fed, and let them get rest, plenty of sleep and grow up to be strong Jacksons."

Joe Jackson, famous for catapulting his sons into superstardom via the Jackson 5, said he already sees signs Michael Jackson's children may someday follow in their father's fast-moving footsteps.

"I don't know -- I keep watching Paris," Joe Jackson said. "She … wants to do something."

"And as far as I can see, well, they say Blanket, he can really dance," he added.

The children have been under the care of Katherine Jackson at the Hayvenhurst compound in Encino since Jackson's June 25 death from apparent cardiac arrest.

But for now the family focus is on grieving for its most famous member and pushing to find out why Michael Jackson died so young, just two months shy of his 51st birthday.

Katherine Jackson, who is gearing up for a custody battle for the three Jackson children, still has a hard time even talking about her seventh child.

"She's taking it real hard," Joe Jackson said. "When you start talking about Michael she starts crying."