Legal Blog: Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Conservator Sues Nick Gordon For $10 Million…District Attorney Has Yet To File Charges

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The headlines surrounding reality TV star Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston and singer-songwriter Bobby Brown, have become even more tragic now that the 22-year-old has been moved to an Atlanta-area hospice care facility.

Bobbi Kristina was found incapacitated in a bathtub at her home in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell on January 31, 2015. Bedelia C. Hargrove, the court-appointed conservator for Bobbi Kristina, filed a complaint on June 24, 2015 against Nicholas Gordon, suggesting that Nick caused Bobbi Kristina’s life-threatening brain damage on January 31. His relatives counter that he is a scapegoat for the incident.   

The “Being Bobby Brown” star is currently under medical care for what her grandmother, Cissy Houston, called “global and irreversible brain damage.”

Bedelia Hargrove, as conservator and next friend for Bobbi Kristina, is seeking at least $10 million in damages on seven counts, including assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conversion, quantum meruit/unjust enrichment, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages. The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, alleges that Nick’s behavior “caused, among other things, substantial bodily harm to Brown.”

The complaint is liberally — and heartbreakingly — peppered with allegations accusing Bobbi Kristina’s ex of physical and emotional abuse, saying Nick punched Bobbi Kristina in the face, “knocking out a front tooth, and dragging her upstairs by her hair” while also “threatening bodily harm and damages.” Plaintiff avers that as a direct result of Defendant’s “extreme and outrageous assault upon her, Brown has suffered emotional distress.”

An Open-And-Shut Case?

Prior to this lawsuit, the media habitually heard crickets from law enforcement investigating the case. That has since changed.

The police now say they are treating Bobbi Kristina’s case as a criminal investigation.  Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant remarked that the investigation of the January 31 incident that left Bobbi Kristina unconscious is in the hands of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.  Police have turned over their investigative file to the D.A., who will determine whether any charges will be filed.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. said in a statement to PEOPLE this week, “In view of the new circumstances regarding the health status of Bobbi Kristina Brown, we will be reviewing the case with greater interest.” The district attorney will examine the investigative file “to see if any criminal charges are appropriate,” Roswell police officer Lisa Holland said in a statement on June 25.

The district attorney’s office indicates that the above-mentioned developments are unrelated to the June 24 complaint but I urge All About The Tea posters to put two and two together. Civil lawsuits have a way of lighting a fire under law enforcement and prosecutors.  There is also a chance that the family’s decision to move Bobbi Kristina from a rehab facility to hospice care — which provides specialized comfort and pain-control medicine for the final stages of a terminal illness — gently prodded prosecutors to take another look at the evidence.

Prosecutorial Discretion

Prosecutors exercise virtually unchecked discretion, deciding whom to charge with a crime, what charges to file, when to drop the charges, whether to plea bargain, and what sentencing recommendations to make.

The United States Supreme Court has consistently authorized prosecutorial discretion.  See, e.g., Wayte v. Unites States, 470 U.S. 598 (1985) (“In our criminal justice system, the Government retains ‘broad discretion’ as to whom to prosecute.”)

So long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused committed an offense defined by statute, the decision whether or not to prosecute, and what charge to file, generally rests exclusively in the prosecutor’s discretion.

It has been nearly five months since something went horribly wrong at Bobbi Kristina’s townhome.  An otherwise healthy 22-year-old is not typically found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub. Despite months of treatment in two Atlanta hospitals and a rehab facility, Bobbi Kristina has never regained consciousness.

Should the Fulton County District Attorney file charges based on the allegations in the civil suit? Law enforcement officials might be paying attention to Plaintiff’s complaint, especially the most damning accusations. Plaintiff accuses Nick, 25, of dragging Bobbi Kristina upstairs by her hair, withdrawing her funds without authorization, and knocking out her teeth just hours before she was discovered face-down in a bathtub on January 31. 

Sitting In Judgment

According to the complaint, on the morning of January 31, 2015, Bobbi Kristina became embroiled in a loud argument with Nick at her townhome. The boisterous argument ended and Bobbi Kristina was later found unconscious, with her mouth swollen and another tooth knocked out. Medical personnel were able to revive Bobbi Kristina, though she was soon placed into a medically induced coma for her medical welfare.

Undoubtedly the shadowy status of Nick and Bobbi Kristina’s relationship will be of interest to law enforcement. Prior to 2012, Nick held himself out to be Bobbi Kristina’s surrogate brother but after 2012, when Bobbi Kristina inherited a substantial sum of money, Nick assumed the role of her boyfriend. Then in 2014, Nick supposedly perpetrated a fraud that he had married Bobbi Kristina, though in fact they never were married. The suit paints Nick as a violent and abusive individual in Bobbi Kristina’s life. 

Controlling The Purse Strings

“Defendant often answered Brown’s personal cell phone, would not allow her to make appointments without his approval, and manipulated her bank relationship so that he could access her money,” the legal document states.  The complaint likewise asserts that while Bobbi Kristina was in a coma, Nick accessed her bank account(s) and stole in excess of $11,000.00 from Bobbi Kristina’s bank account(s). 

Family and friends of Bobbi Kristina have put Nick on notice of their recent discovery of converted assets but Nick has failed to return the monies, according to the suit. “Conversion,” as alleged in the complaint, intimates that Nick took Bobbi Kristina’s money lawfully to apply it in some manner for her, such as a deposit or payment, and instead used it for his own purposes.

An equally shocking claim is that Nick threatened one of the trustees with guns and other violent weapons.  On April 14, 2014, the Court issued a restraining and/or protective order against Nick relating to his stalking of the trustee.

Justice Is Truth In Action

“I filed this lawsuit to pursue justice on behalf of Bobbi Kristina Brown,” Bedelia Hargrove tells PEOPLE. Justice cannot be passive; it must be pursued actively where appropriate. Grab your gavel, join the conversation, and let us know whether you think criminal charges should be filed and how the civil suit will be resolved. 


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