Jury will most likely decide who's entitled to James Brown's royalties

Deanna Brown, daughter of the late singer James Brown, believes her father's musical empire and millions of dollars are on the line.

"I see half of my father's royalties at stake and everything that he worked for over 50 years, so that's what's at stake," she said.

It's been almost seven years since Brown, the man known as the godfather of soul, died.

The battle over Brown's estate and royalties has stretched on in South Carolina courts ever since his death.

Wednesday Judge Doyet Early and nearly a dozen attorneys met again, this time setting out to determine who is and who isn't entitled to Brown's royalties.

Deanna Brown hopes the courts will finally answer the question, is Tomi Rae Hynie Brown's widow?

Attorneys say if Hynie and Brown weren't legally married she gets nothing. But if they were, she's entitled to 50% of Brown's royalties.

James Brown's lawyer says Brown tied the knot with Hynie in 2001, while she was still married to another man and that voids her marriage to Brown.

Attorney David Bell represents Brown's son Terry, he says Brown wrote over 700 songs and he estimates the royalties bring in $6 to $7 million a year.

The case will most likely be decided by a jury, Deanna Brown is confident they will decide which parties have a valid claim to Brown's royalties.

"The truth will come out in the courts," said Deanna Brown.

Bell believes Judge Doyet Early will also order Hynie's son to take a DNA test.

If the results prove he's Brown's son, he's entitled to share half of the royalties with Brown's other children.

The court also plans to have a jury resolve claims by Hynie and some of Brown's children that Brown was unduly influenced to cut them out of his will and trust.

Deanna Brown says no matter what the court ultimately decides the decision needs to come fast.

"We've been in this for seven years now and everyone wants to see some type of finality, for the sake of my father's name," she said.

The next court date is expected to be set in about two weeks.

The bigger picture includes Brown's $100 million trust which he intended to go to the education of needy children in Georgia and South Carolina. His trust is also tied up in the courts right now.

Bell says he hopes litigation surrounding Brown's estate will be resolved by 2014 or 2015.

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