News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 7, 2008
AIKEN, S.C. -- The Georgia Attorney General's Office is off the case, while Louis Levenson, who represents five of James Brown's six adult children, stays on the case despite a motion by another attorney and his client to remove him. Plus, a 1999 will of the Godfather of Soul is found on Christmas Eve last year, and today two former trustees take the stand to answer questions on it.
Judge Jack Early accepted the motion to remove the Georgia Attorney General's Office from the case despite arguments from the Georgia Attorney General's Office that they should be allowed to stay on. The Office argued that the poor children of Georgia have a vested interest in Mr. Brown's trust and that the South Carolina Attorney General's Office could not adequately represent Georgia. Judge Early ultimately decided that Georgia did not have a vested interest in James Brown's estate or trust.
A motion filed by attorney David Bell on behalf of his clients, Terry Brown, and his two children, Forlando and Armando asked that attorney Louis Levenson be removed from the case. The three testified that Levenson had lied to them, and they gave some examples to the court.
Yamma Brown also took the stand to disprove some of the testimony against Levenson, who is also her attorney. Judge Early ruled that Levenson would stay on the case, saying he had never questioned Levenson's credibility, referring to him as a "gentleman."
On the issue of the apparent 1999 will, David Cannon did not take the stand because of being afraid of incriminating himself. He's forced to make a bond of $433,000 in court fees and royalties to music because of a contempt of court charge. That deadline is Friday.
Former trustees Buddy Dallas and Alfred Bradley, testified they did know of the 1999 will, but did not mention it because they were never asked about it. Bradley testified he witnessed the 1999 will and was there when it was signed; adding he would not be surprised if other wills from Mr. Brown were found when going through other documents. Bradley said it was common for Mr. Brown to draft a new will if he had a falling out with someone, in order to leave their name out of it.
There is an apparent Schedule B alteration that Levenson brought up in the courtroom. The Schedule B is an attachment to the James Brown Trust, that was apparently left blank in the 2000 will.
Dallas says he did not alter that document before or after James Brown death. But, he did admit to making a separate document listing all of the assets James Brown Enterprises had, after he died on Christmas Day, 2006.
After the court adjourned, several key players, including Judge Early and the attorneys all met behind closed doors to talk about what Judge Early called "administrative issues regarding James Brown's estate."
The next court hearing is scheduled for February 20th. We may hear more about Tomi Rae Brown on that day and her claim to be the fourth wife and widow of James Brown. We also expect to hear more on the motion to reconsider Bradley and Dallas as trustees for James Brown.