Friday 20 July 2018

No more delays to Mel B’s trial against Stephen Belafonte, judge orders

The former Spice Girl missed a key date in the legal battle because she was filming a commercial in Australia, it is alleged.

Mel B divorce
Mel B divorce

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

A judge has ordered there is “no way” there will be any more delays to Mel B’s domestic violence trial against her estranged husband after she split with her legal team at the 11th hour.

The former Spice Girl, real name Melanie Brown, parted ways with her lawyers less than a week before the scheduled trial, which is part of her bitter divorce from Stephen Belafonte.

A “breakdown” in communications with high-profile lawyers Susan Wiesner and Larry Bakman saw her filming a commercial in Australia rather than at her deposition on Friday, court papers filed in Los Angeles say.

Lawyer Philip Cohen, representing Belafonte, told Los Angeles Superior Court that Brown’s case should be thrown out, arguing she was in contempt of court for missing the key legal interview.

But Judge Mark Juhas ordered that the trial be delayed by a week so the deposition can be carried out, adding: “I hope she is telling the truth.”

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America’s Got Talent

“There’s no way we are not starting this on the 13th,” he said.

The Leeds-born judge on America’s Got Talent is seeking restraining orders against Belafonte and Lorraine Gilles, their former nanny.

Mother-of-three Brown claims Belafonte tormented her with years of physical and mental abuse and the court has been told she alleges he drugged her through much of their relationship.

He has denied the allegations and has claimed her “habitual and consistent addiction” to cocaine and alcohol was a major issue in their marriage.

The court has also been told that Brown led an “extravagant” lifestyle and had “wiped out” her 50 million dollar (£38 million) Spice Girls fortune.

The pair, both 42, married in Las Vegas in June 2007 but Brown filed for divorce in March this year citing “irreconcilable differences” and detailing allegations of domestic abuse.

Their domestic violence trial will begin on November 13 and it will be followed with further hearings on their divorce.

Press Association

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