A lawsuit accusing soul Legend James Brown of rape, which failed, prompted Illinois lawmakers to change a portion of the state’s rape laws. The law, which was signed Monday and takes effect Jan. 1, suspends the statute of limitations when the victim has been intimidated or manipulated into staying quiet. Currently, a person accusing someone of rape has just two years to sue in Illinois. The shift is a response to a legal defeat for a state resident named Jacque Hollander, a former publicist for Brown, who died late last year. According to the AP, Hollander says the singer raped her at gunpoint in 1988 and threatened to have her killed if she told anyone. Hollander waited until 2005 to sue Brown, and the courts rejected her lawsuit as long past the deadline. Brown's attorneys denied the rape allegation. The Associated Press states that they normally do not identify people alleging sexual assault, but Hollander has gone public with her story and spoken to news media. Hollander said she's thrilled by the change because it will help other women who are afraid to take action. "Seeing that no one will ever walk in these shoes again is the win," she said. Source: Associated Press
R&B Legend James Brown's legacy is being tested again by a divorced mother-of-two who claims she's the Godfather of Soul's secret love child. Following months of family squabbling about the late singer's funeral, estate and will, LaRhonda Pettit has come forward with staggering news; proof that she's Brown's daughter. Pettit - the spitting image of the soul legend - claims she met Brown briefly in Texas in 2003, but he refused to acknowledge she was his daughter. The single mom kept quiet about her paternity but when Brown died in December, she underwent a foolproof DNA test to find out once and for all if the man her mother told her was her father was, in fact, Brown. And now she's going public with the results of the test - a 99.99 per cent probability she is the soul man's daughter. Speaking exclusively to America's Globe tabloid, Pettit says, "I look like my daddy, I walk like my daddy, I talk like my daddy. I even have bow legs just like my daddy. That's because I'm James Brown's eldest daughter. I'm just heartbroken he isn't alive to hear me tell him." Pettit now hopes to be embraced by the rest of Brown's family, but admits, "I've tried to reach them, but they're not answering my calls." The disabled former flight attendant is also hoping for a windfall inheritance from her late father, so she can launch a new charity aimed at helping others find their real parents through DNA testing. She adds, "I'm going to call it Children Under The Stars. I want to help people so they don't have to endure the same heartache I've had to endure."
James Brown, the legendary ‘Godfather of Soul,’ who "made soul music a world music" in a hard-driving career that influenced generations of musicians from rock to rap, died Christmas morning at the age of 73. Brown, whose classic singles include "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" had been hospitalized over the weekend for treatment of pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital. He died there early Monday of heart failure, said his agent, Frank Copsidas. "People already know his history, but I would like for them to know he was a man who preached love from the stage," said friend Charles Bobbit, who was with Brown when he died. "His thing was 'I never saw a person that I didn't love.' He was a true humanitarian who loved his country." The entertainer with the rough-edged voice and flashy footwork also had diabetes and prostate cancer that was in remission, but he initially seemed fine at the hospital, Copsidas said. Three days before his death, he had joined volunteers at his annual toy giveaway in Augusta, and he told friends he planned to be in New York for a New Year's Eve performance. "Last night, he said 'I'm going to be there. I'm the hardest working man in show business,'" Copsidas said Monday. Brown won a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1992, as well as Grammys in 1965 for "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" (best R&B recording) and for "Living In America" in 1987 (best R&B vocal performance, male.)
James Brown's widow Tomi Rae Hynie has reached an agreement with trustees of the godfather's estate to obtain DNA samples from the late singer's body. It is hoped that the DNA samples will clarify how many children Brown fathered. In his will, he listed six children, but several other people have come forward following his passing to claim they are also the star's offspring. Hynie originally didn't like the way the trustees wanted the DNA collected, her lawyer, Robert Rosen, said. But both sides have reach an agreement on how to collect the samples, leading to the cancellation of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, according to her lawyer. Brown, who died on December 25 at the age of 73, has yet to be buried. His trustees have said it would be easier to collect the DNA samples before he is entombed in his final resting place. Representatives of Hynie and Brown's six adult children have said they reached an agreement on where to bury the singer, but have not made the arrangements public. Hynie says she is the singer's fourth wife and has a child with Brown. She says she wants a paternity test to prove it. Attorneys for the singer have said Brown and Hynie weren't legally married when he died because she was married to another man when they said their vows. Hynie is suing for a share of Brown's estate and if DNA tests prove the singer's son is fathered by Brown, she will be entitled to some of his financial legacy.
James Brown’s estate has revealed two new legitimate offspring, fathered by the late James Brown, after a dozen people where tested. Buddy Dallas, Brown's longtime attorney, told the Augusta Chronicle that tests came up negative for some individuals and other results are still pending. But two so far have conclusively established that the Sex Machine had fathered at least two children out of wedlock. Citing privacy reasons, Dallas refused to identify the people with matching genes. However, the Chronicle fingered one of them as LaRhonda Petitt, a 45-year-old retired flight attendant and teacher from Houston. "I broke down crying," Petitt said upon learning that the DNA test established a 99.99 percent certainty that she was indeed the Mr. Dynamite's daughter. Petitt told the Chronicle that her mother, Ruby Shannon, met Brown at a concert in the early 1960s and the two carried on an affair while the singer was still married to his first wife, Velma Warren. Pettit, who is the oldest of Brown's kids, says she has become more forgiving of her neglecting father over the years. "I love my daddy," she said. "When I hear my daddy's music, it just freezes me." Brown died last Christmas of heart failure at age 73.