The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is being sued for allegedly losing evidence related to James Brown’s death. Jacquelyn Hollander, a circus singer who worked with Brown in the past, has been piling pressure on the DA to find evidence she provided three years ago that she says could prove that the soul singer was murdered. The evidence has since disappeared from the office.
Hollander presented the evidence to the DA’s office in 2020 and prosecutors subsequently opened an inquiry into Brown’s 2006 death from congestive heart failure at a hospital in Atlanta. A year after she provided the evidence, prosecutors determined there was “an insufficient basis for the initiation of a Grand Jury investigation” and did not make any move in relation to the soul singer’s death, according to CNN.
And years after prosecutors closed their inquiry, Hollander’s evidence provided to them went missing. The evidence includes a handwritten note and a black stiletto shoe allegedly worn in the hospital room on the night the singer was murdered, CNN reported. In March, some of the items in the evidence bag were returned to Hollander but many of the items including the shoe are still missing.
“I’m aware that Ms. Hollander says there was other items given to the DA’s office (well before our time) but none of those items were in the container and a search of the rooms did not reveal any other items associated with the case,” assistant chief of evidence William Chris Clark wrote in an email about the matter to a colleague. The email cited by CNN was written two months after the items were sent to Hollander.
In January, the current district attorney, Fani Willis, was sued by Hollander in Fulton County Superior Court demanding documents related to the inquiry, and “any and all property and evidence submitted to, received by, maintained or possessed by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in relation to said investigation,” CNN said.
Willis was supposed to respond to the filing within 30 days of receipt but did not do so until May 8 after the attorneys of Hollander filed a motion for default judgment. According to the attorneys for Willis, the late response was due to “excusable neglect.” Deputy district attorney Dexter Bond swore in an affidavit that Justice Liaison William McCombs was the one who was served, and “instead of hand-delivering the summons and complaint to the appropriate team member, it was emailed. Consequently, the email was missed and an answer was not filed timely.” Officials including Willis are yet to speak on this matter, CNN said.
Prolific singer and songwriter Brown, who became known for his flashy outfits and shoes, and his signature hairstyle, had the ability to hold and command a crowd with his voice and moves. The incredible dancer revolutionized 20th-century music and his explosive stage performance left many stunned. He was also committed to excellence in his shows and tours, and could fine band members for missing notes or being late to rehearsal or failing to improvise when needed. All in all, Brown didn’t only write and record music, but also toured the world regularly throughout the 1950s and ’60s, performing five or six nights a week. This earned him the title “The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business”, according to Biography.