There may be some shadiness connected to singer Usher winning that long, drawn out custody battle against his ex wife Tameka Raymond.
In August, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane awarded custody of Usher’s two sons to the Atlanta-based singer and actor. The decision stunned Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Raymond, according to her attorney, Lisa West.
Since the decision was rendered, West said she learned Usher’s celebrity attorney, John Mayoue, may have helped Lane get reelected in 2008. According to campaign finance reports, Mayoue’s law firm donated $1,000 to Lane’s campaign and hosted a fundraising reception that raked in thousands of dollars. According to West, Mayoue also sat on Lane’s reelection committee.
“I would classify the relationship as a special relationship,” said West. West said she believes Lane should have disclosed that relationship in open court so she has asked for a new trial and for Lane to recuse herself.
Georgia law allows for attorneys to contribute to judicial campaigns but judges have a heavy legal burden to avoid even the appearance of being biased. Lane isn’t the only judge accused of not revealing special relationships with attorneys. Lane’s colleague, Judge Gail Tusan, also failed to tell Ed Dort that his ex-wife’s attorney, Robert Boyd, sat on her reelection committee
“The final judgment and divorce decree basically financially buried me,” Dort said. According to records, Boyd donated to Tusan’s campaign days before Dort’s wife filed for divorce.
“There’s no question she was influenced by the attorneys,” Dort said. Joanna Shepherd Bailey, a professor for Emory University School of Law, said money does influence judicial outcomes. Shepherd Bailey conducted an extensive study of more than 21,000 State Supreme Court cases and found a strong correlation between judicial campaign contributions and judges’ decisions.