The Godfather of Soul's domestic violence charge is settled, with no jail time

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 15, 2004 08:00 AM

In a letter received Monday, Godfather of Soul James Brown informed prosecutors in Aiken County, S.C., that he would forgo a jury trial and not contest a criminal domestic violence charge because he wanted to keep his family matters private.

Brown, 71, was arrested in January and accused of pushing his wife, Tommie Rae Hynie, 33, to the floor and threatening to kill her during an alleged argument in their home.

Brown has forfeited his $1,087 bond and will have to pay fines and court fees. There will be no jail time.

Prosecutor Anthony Odom said Monday that Brown, who initially said he would fight the charge, had entered a guilty plea.

However, no plea was entered by Brown, with his lawyer, Jim Huff, telling the Associated Press that the action is the same as being convicted, but “Mr. Brown does not admit to being guilty of this crime.”

Huff also said Brown did not wish to have his wife placed on the witness stand.

“A public trial would subject Tommie Rae Hynie to cross examination and challenge her veracity which would have the potential of harming Mr. Brown and Ms. Hynie’s relationship,” the letter to prosecutors said. “My client desires to avoid this.”

Brown’s decision will not affect a pardon he received from the state of South Carolina in 2003 for seven convictions over a 10-year period, says AP. Most of the offenses involved guns or drugs.