- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brown estate settled

After years of hearings in a protracted battle over how to parcel out James Brown’s wealth, a South Carolina judge approved a settlement Tuesday that gives nearly half of it to his charitable trust, about a quarter to his wife and young son, and the rest to Mr. Brown’s adult children, Associated Press reports.

The settlement is a contrast to the instructions spelled out in Mr. Brown’s will and trust after his death on Christmas Day 2006. Some of the soul-music icon’s adult children contested the bequest, claiming their father’s estate was mismanaged by trustees. The legal rifts also delayed Mr. Brown’s burial for a few months. At one point, his body rested in a sealed gold casket inside his South Carolina home.

The exact value of Mr. Brown’s assets has not been made public. However, during numerous court hearings since the Godfather of Soul’s death, there have been claims of unpaid debts, inadequate accounting and misappropriated money.

Some of the soul singer’s possessions were auctioned for $850,000, partly to pay debt. Attorneys have said Mr. Brown’s accounts have little money in them. Future income - from movies, royalties and the sale of his likeness - is what really is at stake, attorneys have said.

The settlement also establishes that Tomi Rae Hynie Brown is the surviving spouse of Mr. Brown and that her son, James Brown II, is Mr. Brown’s child. James Brown II will not be required to take a DNA test, AP said.

Mel’s gal with child

Mel Gibson and his girlfriend, Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, are expecting a baby, just six weeks after his wife filed for divorce.

Mr. Gibson confirmed 39-year-old Miss Grigorieva’s pregnancy on Monday night’s airing of NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

The baby will be his eighth, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Gibson’s wife, Robyn, cited irreconcilable differences in her April 13 divorce petition to end their marriage of 28 years. The 53-year-old Oscar winner has seven children with his wife. The couple have been separated for almost three years.

Bundchen-Brady baby

Gisele Bundchen and her new husband, Tom Brady, haven’t wasted any time following their February wedding: The supermodel reportedly is pregnant, Denverpost.com reports.

The Brazilian beauty, 28, is said to be expecting her first child after she was spotted visiting a New York obstetrician twice in the past few weeks. Miss Bundchen is stepmother to Mr. Brady’s 21-month-old son, John Edward Thomas Moynahan, from his previous relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.

A source close to the model told RadarOnline that Miss Bundchen has told close friends the baby is due in late autumn.

Cannibal film OK’d

An American film based on the case of a German cannibal who killed and ate a willing victim he met on the Internet can be released in Germany, a court said Tuesday.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled against Armin Meiwes, who is serving a life term for killing, mutilating and eating the flesh of a lover in his rambling farmhouse in March 2001. He had tried to block the American movie.

“Rohtenburg,” as the picture is called, was released in the United States in 2006 and advertised as “Inspired by the true story that shocked a nation.”

Its title is a variation of Rotenburg, the small West German town where Meiwes lived when he met his volunteer, Bernd Juergen Brandes, who contacted him responding to an online advertisement looking for a “slaughter victim.”

On the mend

Natalie Cole is recovering at home after a successful kidney transplant, Associated Press reports.

Her spokeswoman, Maureen O’Connor, says Miss Cole was released from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Miss O’Connor says Miss Cole, who had the transplant surgery May 18, is “doing quite well under the circumstances.”

The singer, 59, underwent the operation immediately after learning that a donor organ had become available.

Miss Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, had been receiving dialysis three times a week since September, yet she continued to perform in support of her latest album, the Grammy-winning “Still Unforgettable.”

Miss Cole postponed her summer tour - including a stop at the Capital Jazz Festival at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., which begins June 5 - to recover from the surgery.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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