RPR&C In The Media


USA Today – Six glaring questions in Bobbi Kristina case – quote by Jerry Reisman

August 11, 2015 Posted in: RPR&C In The Media

USA Today Masthead

August 11, 2015

Six glaring questions in Bobbi Kristina case

By Maria Puente

Bobbi Kristina USA Today 1

The accusations against the late Bobbi Kristina Brown’s boyfriend Nick Gordon get more villainous by the week but the latest shocking headlines — about spying and brawling and a “toxic cocktail” and a “wrongful death” — have left more questions than answers.

Such as: How would Bobbi Kristina have consumed a “toxic cocktail” allegedly given to her by Gordon? Did she take it willingly? Was it poured down her throat while she was unconscious?

It’s not clear from the $60 million amended wrongful death lawsuit filed late Friday against Gordon by Bobbi Kristina’s court-appointed conservator, who is charged with administering her estate now that the 22-year-old daughter of the late Whitney Houston has tragically joined her mother in the grave.

Bobbi Kristina died on July 26, six months after she was found face down in her bathtub at the Roswell, Ga., townhouse she shared with Gordon. She never regained consciousness and was never able to explain what happened to her on Jan. 31.

The lawsuit was filed by her conservator, Bedelia Hargrove, who is not a relative of Bobbi Kristina but was appointed by the Georgia court to look after her financial affairs shortly before she died. On Friday, Hargrove amended the lawsuit to include more accusations and demands for tens of millions more in damages, and to suggest a theory of what Hargrove, and by extension Bobbi Kristina’s Houston and Brown relatives, think happened in her townhouse that day.

But it’s a sketchy theory.

Nothing unusual about that, says Georgia lawyer and legal analyst Phillip Holloway, who once represented a Gordon friend, Max Lomas, who was at the townhouse that day.

Bobbi Kristina USA Today 2The body of Bobbi Kristina Brown leaves funeral home In Newark, N.J., on way to burial on August 3, 2015. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/ Getty Images)

Holloway says lawyers allege “unspecified information” in lawsuits all the time, information that causes them to believe certain things occurred, he says. They don’t have to get into the details until later, during discovery, when each side explores the strengths and/or weaknesses of the other side’s position.

“Just as in a criminal indictment, no actual evidence has to be revealed in filing a lawsuit,” Holloway says.

Jerry Reisman, an estate lawyer with the Long Island firm of Reisman, Peirez, Reisman and Capobinanco, says that what lawyers say in “pleadings” such as this are “privileged.”

That means “the lawyer can say anything he wants,” Reisman says. The lawyer may not have all the facts yet, and hopes to obtain more facts later on in the legal process, he says.

“I think right now, this (lawsuit) is aimed at getting attention,” Reisman says.”What’s driving this complaint is the need to prevent Nick Gordon from getting any of (Bobbi Kristina’s estate), and to seek recovery” of what he’s already gotten.

Ian Halperin, an investigative journalist and author of Whitney & Bobbi Kristina: The Deadly Price of Fame, says he’s no defender of Gordon. He thinks the lawsuit is aimed at pressuring the Roswell police and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to press criminal charges against Gordon for an alleged assault on Bobbi Kristina that led to her death.

“You can put in all kinds of allegations without evidence, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing or you could lose your credibility,” Halperin says. “You have to have a smoking gun…This could actually damage the case against Nick Gordon.”

So far, the case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed. Howard’s office did not return a call for comment, and the local medical examiner will not comment until the final autopsy report is delivered.

Reisman says law enforcement authorities have learned not to rush in high-profile cases such as this. “They don’t bring any charges against anyone unless they have an open-and-shut case,” he says. “They don’t want to lose this, because everyone is going to be watching.”

Calls to Hargrove are referred to one of the Houston family’s publicists in Los Angeles, Kristen Foster, but she has declined for weeks to talk to the media about anything having to do with Bobbi Kristina, and continues to do so. A lawyer for Bobbi Kristina’s father, Bobby Brown, declined to comment about the lawsuit.

The Brown and Houston families have not always seen eye-to-eye on their mutual tragedy but they share a suspicion that Gordon had something to do with it. He was explicitly barred from attending her funeral in Georgia on Aug. 1 and her burial in New Jersey next to her mother on Aug 3.

Gordon’s Florida lawyer, Jose Baez, issued a statement late Friday denouncing the lawsuit as “slanderous and meritless” and a “fictitious assault” against Gordon, but declined to elaborate Tuesday. (Gordon has been living with his mother in Florida.)

“It’s shameful that such baseless allegations have been presented publicly,” the statement said.

What are the major questions raised by the lawsuit?

What was in this “toxic cocktail”?

Was it an actual cocktail or is that just a metaphor? And how did Gordon allegedly give it to her? Why would she take it willingly, since the lawsuit asserts that the cocktail was preceded by a 30-minute knock-down-drag-out fight between the two in which Gordon allegedly screamed at her that she was a “whore” and a “bitch,” and accused her of cheating.

“Then everything abruptly became quiet,” the lawsuit says. “Upon information and belief, (Gordon) gave Bobbi Kristina a toxic cocktail rendering her unconscious and then put her face down in a tub of cold water causing her to suffer brain damage.”

Bobbi Kristina USA Today 3The hearse containing the casket of Bobbi Kristina Brown leaves funeral service at St. James United Methodist Church on August 1, 2015 in Alpharetta, Ga. (Photo: Paras Griffin/ Getty Images)

Halperin says the latter part of this scenario fits with his theory of what happened to Bobbi Kristina, who had been regularly using drugs and alcohol for days, according to his investigation. He believes that when she fell unconscious that day, her companions panicked, dumped in her cold water and slapped her to try and revive her. It’s a common strategy among addicts, he says. And the lawsuit says Gordon “began to slap her saying, ‘wake up’ while performing CPR between slaps.”

What is the significance of the dust pan?

The lawsuit says that “interestingly,” a dust pan was found in the bottom of the bathtub, but it doesn’t explain why this household item would be interesting or what it was doing in a bathtub.

Was Nick Gordon spying on Bobbi Kristina?

The lawsuit says that Gordon returned home at 6 a.m. on Jan. 31 after an “all-night cocaine and drinking binge.” He then “reviewed camera footage of Bobbi Kristina and listened to her conversations.” What camera footage? Inside the townhouse or outside? How did he listen to her conversations? Does this footage show anything useful, like what happened to Bobbi Kristina? The lawsuit doesn’t say.

Who was the “female guest” in the townhouse that day?

The lawsuit says that the argument between Gordon and Bobbi Kristina started in the kitchen, moved to the living room and then to the master bedroom. After he placed her in the tub, he came out of the bedroom wearing different clothes than when he went in.

“Afterward he got in bed, laid his head on female guests’s ankle and stated, ‘Now I want a pretty little white girl like you.'”

Halperin believes this female guest might be Danyela Bradley, the girlfriend of Max Lomas, a friend to both Gordon and Bobbi Kristina, who was at the townhouse that day and helped try to revive Bobbi Kristina, according Holloway, his lawyer at the time.

Who actually found Bobbi Kristina?

Fifteen minutes after Gordon came out of the master bedroom, a “person” at the townhouse went inside the bedroom to check on Bobbi Kristina and found her face down in the bathtub. “She was unresponsive, unconscious, her mouth was swollen and another tooth was hanging loosely from her mouth.”

Who was this person? The lawsuit doesn’t say.

What did Gordon do after she was found?

The lawsuit says the “very first thing (Gordon) did was let the cold water out of the bathtub and later shouted, ‘Clean up, clean up,’ ” while “others” began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to no avail. Who were these other people? The lawsuit doesn’t say.

Halperin predicts Baez, who successfully defended Casey Anthony on a charge of killing her baby, might find this lawsuit against his client helpful.

“I think Baez will have a field day with this,” he says. “(The conservator) keeps digging themselves deeper and deeper. Good luck proving this was a lethal cocktail, because she had been drinking and doing drugs in the days and hours leading up to (being found).

“I have extreme skepticism at this point. It seems not plausible.”