An appeals court on Wednesday refused to reinstate an order granting Michael Jackson sole custody of his two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.

An appeals court on Wednesday refused to reinstate an order granting Michael Jackson sole custody of his two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.

California's 2nd District Court of Appeals said that while Rowe signed away her parental rights in 2001 to the 47-year-old performer's two oldest children, Michael Jr. and Paris, it found that the judge in that case did not properly handle the proceedings.

Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1997 to 1999 but never lived with the self-styled King of Pop, persuaded a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to overturn the child custody agreement in 2004 on legal grounds.

Rowe's petition cited accusations of child molestation against Jackson and his association with the Nation of Islam, whose members briefly provided security for the singer during the trial.

The case ended with Jackson's acquittal in June of 2005.

After the lower court refused Jackson's request to overturn that order, he appealed to the 2nd District, which ruled against the entertainer and held that the original order terminating Rowe's parental rights was voided.

Rowe, who was working as a medical assistant for a dermatologist when she met Jackson, was called as a prosecution witness in his trial but defended him on the stand, saying that he was kind, selfless and "generous to a fault."

Jackson, who has spent much of his time since the trial in Bahrain, has a third child, Prince Michael II, by an unknown mother.

He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, in the mid-1990s, but the couple had no children together. Presley subsequently married and divorced actor Nicolas Cage and in January reportedly married guitarist and music producer Michael Lockwood in Kyoto, Japan,

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