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1.6 Million Register for 8,750 Jackson Memorial Tickets

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CNN: About 1.6 million fans registered for a chance at fewer than 9,000 tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial service next week, organizers said.

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Registration ended at 6 p.m. Saturday. Officials will now "scrub" all entries to eliminate duplicates and those they suspect may have been registered using software that tickets scalpers use to generate multiple hits.

A random drawing will follow. The winning 8,750 registrants will receive an e-mail Sunday after 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET), AEG Live said.

"I know I'll be hitting the 'refresh' button on my inbox over and over again," said Jackie Flower, an arts student in San Diego, California.

The e-mail will assign the selected registrants a unique code and direct them to a designated distribution center away from the Staples Center.

There, they will each receive two tickets to either the memorial service at the Staples Center arena or a simulcast of the event at the adjacent Nokia Theater LA Live, AEG said.

Jackson's family has still not announced the singer's burial arrangements, saying only that it will hold a private ceremony ahead of the massive public memorial service Tuesday.

Journalists staked out several possible burial locations. A long line of television satellite trucks remained parked outside the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn Cemetery in case it was chosen by the family, but there has been no word from cemetery officials.

Police set up metal barricades around the front lawn, creating spaces for media and fans. Two state trooper cruisers idled at the Hall of Liberty inside the grounds, which contains a 1,200-seat auditorium.

The family has not decided whether Jackson's body will be brought to the Staples Center arena, where the public ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. PT.

At the time of his death, Jackson was working with a concert promotions company on 50 sold-out shows in London, England, beginning in mid-July.

Also Saturday, a handful of fans milled about the Jackson family home in Encino, California, bringing flowers and taking pictures next to an informal sidewalk shrine to the pop star.

Farzana Payind of Los Angeles snapped a picture of her 6-year-old daughter, Enayah.

Payind said Enayah loves to dance to Jackson songs "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" and cried when she learned of the singer's death.

"Does that mean his music died too?" the girl asked, according to Payind.

Neighbor Michael Singer watched the activities with interest.

"This makes Elvis look like nothing," he said.

"When you grow up with Michael Jackson's music pretty much your whole life, you feel like you lost a family member, and you have to go to the funeral," said Add Seymour of Atlanta, Georgia, who registered Friday morning and planned to fly out if picked.

"I got some frequent-flier miles just in case I wanted to do something wild and crazy -- and this is wild and crazy."

Tickets will be handed out Monday outside the Staples Center, said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG Live. Ticketholders will also have wristbands to match their tickets, a precaution against people "trying to take advantage" of the system, he said.

Although 11,000 seats are available for fans inside the Staples Center, another 6,500 can watch from the Nokia Theater site across the street, according to Leiweke.

Police said they will close the area near the Staples Center to all those without a ticket.

The family will provide a free live video feed to networks so it can be televised everywhere.

"I want to stress to those people who are coming, or are thinking about coming, to the city for this special event that you might want to consider watching this from the comfort of your home," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, the city's acting mayor while Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is out of the country.

The city government will provide security for the event, despite a budget crisis, Perry said.

Despite the interest surrounding the service, few details have emerged.

Ken Ehrlich, known for producing the Grammy Awards, is producing the memorial show, his company said. And Kenny Ortega, who was to have co-directed Jackson's series of concerts in London this summer, will direct it.

Singer Jennifer Hudson will be among the performers taking the stage, CNN has confirmed.

Drug rumors swirl

Meanwhile, speculation that anesthetic drugs might have played a role in the singer's death June 25 continued to swell Friday after a Los Angeles law enforcement source told The Associated Press that investigators found Diprivan, a powerful sedative, in Jackson's home.

Earlier in the week, a nutritionist, Cherilyn Lee, said Jackson pleaded for the drug despite being told of its harmful effects.

And sources close to Jackson said Thursday that the pop icon traveled with what amounted to a mini-clinic, complete with an IV pole and an anesthesiologist who medicated the insomniac singer, during his HIStory world tour in the mid-90s.

Authorities do not know what killed Jackson and await toxicology results, which are due back in two to three weeks.

"We are treating all unnamed sources as rumors. And, as we have stated before, we will not be responding to rumors or innuendo," said lawyers for Jackson's cardiologist, Dr. Conrad Murray, on Friday. "We are awaiting the facts to come out, and we will respond at that time."

Los Angeles police have interviewed Murray, who apparently tried to revive the singer after he was found unconscious at his rented Holmby Hills estate.

The department said it is now working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the state Attorney General's Office as it looks into Jackson's death.

"For anything that has to do with drugs, the DEA are the experts on that," said Jim McDonnell, assistant police chief. "And if you're looking at the prescription issues, where else would you go?"

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
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