Judge Ups Famous Composer Joseph Brooks' Bail Money to $1.5M in Sex Assault Case
By Kiratiana Freelon on January 22, 2010 6:26pm |
By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A Manhattan judge accused a disgraced composer of reporting "fishy" and false financial information before raising his bail in a sexual assault case from $250,000 to $1.5 million cash or a $3 million bond on Friday.
Joseph Brooks must post the bail by next Friday if he wishes to stay out of jail while he fights sexual assault charges.
The issue of bail was raised again for Brooks, 71, this week because of two additional sexual assault allegations against the aging Academy Award winner.
Brooks is now accused of forcing himself on 13 victims. He allegedly lured them to his Upper East Side apartment by telling them they were there for movie auditions, prosecutors charge.
The songwriter, who has been free on bail since charges were filed last year, appraised his net worth at $1.7 million. But prosecutors said he has been lying about the amount as evidenced by his lavish lifestyle including vacations to Europe and Mexico, trips he took after suffering a stroke in 2008.
Brooks also gave a $1 million gift to his ex-fiance, a woman in her 20s he is now suing to recover money and gifts he showered her with.
"There's something fishy going on here — the way [large sums] of money are moved around and put under different peoples' names," said Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Charles Solomon.
In justifying a higher bail, Solomon said he also believed the assault victim's claims were compelling and believable.
Prosecutors accused Brooks of having millions more than what he has claimed and claimed he exaggerated the severity of his medical conditions to help his case.
"[Brooks] has lived the high life all these years while his victims continued to suffer," said Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal.
She also said witnesses spotted Brooks walking without his cane after his stroke and could not tell from looking at him that he was ill and recovering from invasive surgery, a claim his attorney dismissed as "wrong and unfair."
"His stroke left him on the operating table for five or six hours and it wasn't believed he was going to survive," his attorney Jeffrey Hoffman said.
Brooks is due back in court on Jan. 29 and will be jailed if the reset bail is not posted.