CHASKA, Minn. - An attorney who handled Prince's divorce from his second wife a decade ago has asked a Minnesota judge for $600,000 in what he says are unpaid legal bills from the rock superstar, who died of an accidental drug overdose nearly a year ago.
At a hearing Friday, an attorney for the trust company managing Prince's estate pointed out that Patrick Cousins' claim had already been rejected, and said that Cousins had missed a legal deadline for challenging that decision.
"Ignorance of the law is simply not an excuse," said Joseph Cassioppi, an attorney representing Comerica Bank and Trust, the estate''s special administrator.
But Cousins, a West Palm Beach, Florida, attorney who handled Prince's 2007 divorce from Manuela Testolini, says he met all the requirements and is entitled to collect.
Cousins said Prince never disputed a bill and intended on paying him as soon as the legal work was done.
"Nobody thought Mr. Nelson was going to die when he did, and clearly if we did, we might of gone about things a little differently," said Cousins. "Certain things needed to get done to his divorce and other matters and until we got that done, he wasn’t going to pay."
Cousins said he became close to Prince while representing him mainly between 2004-2010 and was reluctant to take his claim to court, knowing how his acclaimed client and friend preferred confidentiality. He said he also handled matters from record companies for Prince.
"I've been keeping things close to the cuff, I represented Mr. Nelson for a long time, I have got 120 boxes of files that I still keep storage that I keep paying for every month, and there are a lot of things I know I’ve just been keeping quiet," said Cousins.
Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide, who's overseeing the estate case, said he'll rule on the motion next week. Cousins said he remains optimistic the judge will consider his claim.
"I wish I didn't have to be here," said Cousins. "I was driving here last night and passed Paisley Park and called my wife and said - it’s just different driving and him not being here."