Mel B and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte have reached a settlement in their nasty domestic violence trial in a surprise move on Thursday morning.
Just days before a two-week trial was due to start, the two reached a private settlement and a judge canceled the domestic violence restraining order that the former Spice Girl took out against Belafonte months ago.
Mel B, dressed in a sheer green dress, long beige coat and beige high heels, refused to talk outside the Superior Court in Los Angeles after today’s court appearance.
But Sean Collinson – a family law mediator hired by her legal team – told DailyMail.com: ‘Miss Brown stood her ground and we replaced the domestic violence restraining order with a private settlement.’
He declined to reveal any details of the couple’s settlement, which was hammered out by their legal teams on Wednesday night.
Another restraining order Mel B – real name Melanie Brown – took out against the couple’s former nanny Lorraine Gilles, 25, who claims to have had a seven-year sexual relationship with Brown – will stay in force till Monday, pending an expected settlement of that case too.
With one hurdle cleared, Mel B and Belafonte can now move forward with hearings for their divorce.
Mel B and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte agreed to settle their nasty domestic violence case in a surprise move on Thursday morning. Pictured: The former Spice Girl arriving to court in Los Angeles
Mel wore dark shades as she wheeled a cheetah print suitcase inside the courthouse.
It is thought that an agreement was reached so that Belafonte could see his daughter Madison, six, whom he shares with the America’s Got Talent judge.
Custody of Madison and Belafonte’s application for step-father visitation of 10 year -old Angel – Mel B’s daughter by Eddie Murphy – are still to be settled.
Mel B and Belafonte, both 42, married in 2007 but the singer filed for divorce in March this year citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ and claimed domestic abuse.
Belafonte’s legal team was planning on using 56 videos as evidence in the upcoming trial featuring Mel, claiming to show the star snorting cocaine and in a ‘sexual activity’.
Judge Juhas said he would return the controversial videos submitted as exhibits by Belafonte – 20 of which showed allegedly sexual situations involving Brown – to Belafonte.
However the judger warned that they may be needed again as evidence if the trial involving Brown’s restraining order against Gilles goes ahead on Monday.
Belafonte’s legal team was planning on using 56 videos as evidence featuring Mel, claiming to show the star snorting cocaine and in a ‘sexual activity’. They can now move forward with their divorce hearings
The settlement comes after Mel B parted ways with high-profile lawyers Susan Wiesner and Larry Bakman just days before the scheduled trial, which was a part of her bitter divorce.
A ‘breakdown’ in communications with her lawyers saw the star filming a commercial in Australia rather than appearing at her deposition, 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, argued that 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 employed relatively unknown LA based outfit Osuna & Dotson Law Firm, run by attorneys Claudia Osuna and Juan Dotson, to handle the case and they had just over a week to get up to speed.
Mom-of-three Mel had claimed Belafonte tormented her with years of physical and mental abuse and the court has been told she alleged he drugged her through much of their relationship.
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 was supposed to begin on November 13 and now further hearings on their divorce can proceed.
DailyMail.com has learned that one possible factor in the break with her former lawyers was that Mel ran out on her deposition in the case.
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 denied all the allegations.
In addition to seeking a divorce Mel, was pursuing permanent restraining orders against him and her former nanny.
She accused 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 B showed up to court in a tight, partially sheer olive green dress with a camel colored coat cloaking her
The singer and judge wore dark shades as she wheeled a cheetah print suitcase inside
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.
At a previous hearing, 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 Mel said some of the sex acts shown in at least 20 sex tapes submitted as evidence were ‘non-consensual’.
The twist was a bombshell claim and a body blow for Belafonte.
But his legal team would have likely countered 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.
Another restraining order Mel B – real name Melanie Brown – took out against the couple’s former nanny Lorraine Gilles, 25, who claims to have had a seven-year sexual relationship with Brown – will stay in force till Monday, pending an expected settlement of that case too
Another contradiction his team would have examined during the now called off trial is Mel’s memory over her sexual relationship with Gilles.
The singer alleged 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 accused Belafonte 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.