James Brown avoided a trial on a criminal domestic violence charge by forfeiting his $1,000 bond to the Beech Island (South Carolina) Summary Court.
Brown's no contest plea will be classified as a conviction for a misdemeanor charge, according to the Augusta Chronicle in Brown's Georgia hometown. The charge was filed after the seventy-one-year-old Godfather of Soul was accused of striking his wife, Tommie Rae Brown, 35, in January at their South Carolina home. "I would never hurt my wife," Brown said at the time. Though Brown had filed for an annulment from his wife earlier this year, the two continue to tour together, with Tommie Ray singing in his band.
The admission of guilt allows Brown to avoid a trial by jury that was to begin next week. Brown's previous run-ins with the law -- he spent more than two years in jail for a 1988 drug and assault arrest and was convicted on drug charges in 1998 -- were recently expunged when the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon granted him a state pardon in May 2003.