Paternity testing is back with a vengeance this season.
Taking a page from the trials and tribulations of Anna Nicole Smith, the trustees in charge of James Brown's estate have petitioned a South Carolina court to allow DNA samples to be taken from the singer's body in order to establish the paternity of...well, anyone who claims to be the Godfather of Soul's offspring.
While longtime Brown attorney Buddy Dallas didn't specify as to how many people are out there claiming to be Brown's kid, he has previously said that James Brown Jr., who's purportedly the entertainer's five-year-old son with partner Tomi Rae Hynie, would need to undergo paternity testing before he could claim a portion of Brown's estate.
James Jr. was not named in Brown's will, which doled out possessions such as cars, clothes and jewelry to his six grown children.
Hynie, who claims to have been the singer's fourth wife—although his lawyers maintain the two were never legally married—is suing for half of Brown's estate. She maintains the will is invalid because it was made out in 2001, before James Jr.'s birth and before she and Brown swapped vows.
Rodney Peeples, an attorney representing Dallas and his fellow trustees, said the samples would have to be taken soon because burial plans are finally underway. Earlier this week, attorneys for Hynie and Brown's children said the two parties have reached an undisclosed agreement as to where Brown's final resting place will be.
"It only makes sense to do that now," Dallas told the Associated Press, adding that the process of extracting DNA would become much more complicated once his former boss was interred.
Brown died of heart failure Dec. 25 at age 73 at an Atlanta hospital. His remains have since been shuttled to New York for a public viewing at Harlem's Apollo Theater, then driven back down south for a private funeral and a public memorial. The singer's body, which is lying in a gold casket, was then preserved for a while in a climate-controlled room in his Beech Island mansion.
Now Brown's remains are currently at an undisclosed location and are being looked after by the head of a local funeral home, who says that everything looks as it should be.
Hynie's attorney, Robert Rosen, told the AP that he's all for taking DNA samples.
"I'm asking the judge to appoint an impartial person to take the sample, and to give me a sample, and give the trustees a sample, and anybody in the case who wanted a sample," Rosen said. "And I want the court to keep a sample, so later, if this becomes contested, everyone will have access to the same evidence."
His thorough response certainly makes it seem as if James Brown Jr. will be due for a paternity test one of these days.
A judge recently allowed Hynie to return to the Beech Island property, which had been off-limits to her since Christmas Day, to gather her personal belongings. She told CNN's Larry King earlier this week that she was in the house for three hours and found that her stuff had been packed into 70 boxes.
Hynie told King that she and her son—who has been asking whether his daddy is still sleeping, she says—have been living with a friend in Beverly Hills.
"He'll draw little pictures of [Brown] in a casket with lots of hair on the little stick figure and say 'That's Daddy,'" Hynie said.