Stephen M. Silverman
February 06, 2004 01:48 PM

There’s more news involving Godfather of Soul James Brown, and this isn’t positive either: Given the fact he’s facing a domestic violence charge, a music festival in his Georgia hometown of Augusta no longer wants to name itself after him, reports the Associated Press.

Corporate sponsors who were counted upon for financially backing the James Brown Music Festival in May are now balking at the association, says the news service, adding that there even is some talk that the legendary singer will be asked not to perform there.

Still, Augusta – where Brown, 70, grew up and has since had offices and a radio station – is moving forward with plans for a $40,000 bronze statue of him, scheduled to go on display the day before the music festival which may revert back to its original name, the Garden City Music Festival.

Earlier this week, Brown filed papers seeking an annulment from his wife, claiming she was never legally divorced from a previous marriage, reported the AP.

Brown and his “wife,” Tomi Rae Brown, 30, made headlines when, on Jan. 28, he was arrested in South Carolina on a domestic violence charge for allegedly pushing her to the floor during an argument in a bedroom of their Beech Island home and threatened to kill her while holding a chair over her, according to an Aiken County sheriff’s report.

She had scratches and bruises on her right arm and hip and was taken to an Augusta hospital, deputies said.

Brown, who has denied the accusations – and said, “I would never hurt my wife. I love her very much” – filed for the annulment only hours after he was released from jail on the domestic violence charge. (If convicted on that charge, Brown could face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.)

His attorney, Jim Huff, told the Augusta Chronicle newspaper that Brown’s wife said she never sought a divorce from Javed Ahmed, whom she had married in Houston in February 1997.

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