Judge gets tough with Mel B who is no show for deposition

A judge has said there is ‘no way’ there will be any more delays to Mel B’s domestic violence trial against her estranged husband after she split with her legal team at the 11th hour.

The America’s Got Talent judge, real name Melanie Brown, parted ways with high-profile lawyers Susan Wiesner and Larry Bakman just five days before the scheduled trial, which is part of her bitter divorce from Stephen Belafonte.

A ‘breakdown’ in communications with her lawyers saw the star filming a commercial in Australia rather than appearing at her deposition on Friday, according to court papers filed in Los Angeles.

Lawyer Philip Cohen, representing Belafonte, told LA Superior Court that Brown’s case should be thrown out, arguing she was in contempt of court for missing the key legal interview.

But Judge Mark Juhas ordered that the trial be delayed by a week so the deposition can be carried out, adding: ‘I hope she is telling the truth.’

‘There’s no way we are not starting this on the 13th,’ he said.

The former Spice Girl has employed relatively unknown LA based outfit Osuna & Dotson Law Firm, run by attorneys Claudia Osuna and Juan Dotson, to handle the case and they have just over a week to get up to speed.

Mel is seeking restraining orders against Belafonte and their former nanny Lorraine Gilles.

Mom-of-three Mel claims Belafonte tormented her with years of physical and mental abuse and the court has been told she alleges he drugged her through much of their relationship.


 A judge has said there is ‘no way’ there will be any more delays after Mel B split with her legal team at the 11th hour

He has denied the allegations and has claimed her ‘habitual and consistent addiction’ to cocaine and alcohol was a major issue in their marriage.

The court has also been told that Brown led an ‘extravagant’ lifestyle and had ‘wiped out’ her $50 million dollar Spice Girls fortune.

The pair, both 42, married in Las Vegas in June 2007 but Brown filed for divorce in March this year citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ and detailing allegations of domestic abuse.

Their domestic violence trial will begin on November 13 and it will be followed with further hearings on their divorce. 

DailyMail.com exclusively learned that the former Spice Girl is no longer represented by high profile attorneys Susan Wiesner and Larry Bakman, although it isn’t clear who broke ties first. 

Mel – who is estimated to have spent a staggering $1million in legal fees since the case began – has also stopped working with another law firm handling her civil case against former nanny Lorraine Gilles.

The last minute switch up could be disastrous for Mel so close to the trial date, scheduled to start on November 6.

The 42-year-old has now hired an entirely new legal team and the attorneys face a race against time to get up to speed with the seven-month old case. 

DailyMail.com has reached out to Osuna & Dotson Law Firm for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

Emails were also submitted to the Susan E Wiesner firm, whom have yet to respond.

A source close to the case told DailyMail.com: ‘Everyone involved was notified on Wednesday that Melanie is no longer represented by Susan Wiesner’s firm. It was a huge shock, especially so late in the game.

‘It’s not clear exactly what’s happened but it’s a disaster for Melanie.’ 

A source said parties were notified of the change in representation on Wednesday and added: 'It's not clear exactly what's happened but it's a disaster for Melanie'

A source said parties were notified of the change in representation on Wednesday and added: ‘It’s not clear exactly what’s happened but it’s a disaster for Melanie’

DailyMail.com has learned that one possible factor in the break is that Mel ran out on her deposition in the case last week. 

She was sitting with lawyers repping her former nanny Gilles.

Judge Juhas made a court order compelling her to return to complete it and appointed a referee – but she has so far failed to do so.

Mel filed for divorce in March. Weeks later she won a temporary domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband with claims that Belafonte punched and choked her, threatened to release sex tapes if she reported him and got their nanny pregnant.

She alleged that she was ‘in fear’ for her life after a series of beatings and that Belafonte’s alleged abuse ramped up when her career was on an upswing. Belafonte vehemently denies all the allegations.

In addition to seeking a divorce Mel – whose real name is Melanie Brown – is pursuing permanent restraining orders against him and her former nanny.

She accuses both of conspiring together against her by threatening to release sex tapes and embarrassing videos of the singer.

Gilles has claimed that she and Mel had a seven year sexual relationship that included three-ways with Belafonte.

Mel and Belafonte have traded blows in recent months with each hurling a slew of allegations at the other in the run up to the trial and the courtroom drama – when and if it goes ahead – is expected to be no less tame.

At a hearing in the case last week the judge sternly ordered that he was going to get the case under control – after hearing ‘a lot of hyperbole’ from Mel’s and Belafonte’s lawyers.

He added: ‘This case has gotten a little bit out of control and I am going to do what I can to get it back to where it needs to be.’

In a shocking late development lawyers for America’s Got Talent judge Mel said some of the sex acts shown in at least 20 sex tapes submitted as evidence are ‘non-consensual’.

The twist, which emerged in court last week, was a bombshell claim and a body blow for Belafonte.

But his legal team will likely counter that Mel failed to mention the shocking allegations in her original complaint – filed six months ago – in which she detailed the scale of abuse by her husband.

Mel B's new attorneys were expected to ask for a three month continuum but the trial has already been delayed several times 

Mel B’s new attorneys were expected to ask for a three month continuum but the trial has already been delayed several times 

Another contradiction his team will examine during the trial is Mel’s memory over her sexual relationship with Gilles.

The singer alleges the nanny had an affair with her husband behind her back, fell pregnant by him and then had an abortion.

She branded her a ‘prostitute’ and a ‘homewrecker’.

Mel also accuses Belafonte, 42, and Gilles of taking money from her.

But the nanny has steadfastly denied the baby she was carrying was Belafonte’s.

In court papers she claimed she not only had threesome sex with Mel and Belafonte, but she also had sex with Mel on their own.

Mel later admitted that she herself had an affair with Gilles – a fact she again failed to mention in her original declaration.

According to court records, Mel filed paperwork earlier this year requesting that the upcoming trial be conducted behind closed doors.

But the request was denied after Belafonte claimed he deserves a chance to publicly defend himself against Mel’s ‘false and damaging’ claims that he repeatedly abused her during their 10-year marriage.

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