An Atlanta prosecutor is considering whether to launch a full-scale investigation into the 2006 death of music legend James Brown, after meeting on Wednesday with a woman who claims to have evidence Brown was murdered. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. will examine the evidence presented at the meeting to determine whether an investigation is warranted.

A spokesperson for the DA’s office said it would be “inappropriate to discuss” next steps in the process at this time, and stressed that no investigation is currently underway, but simply a “review of evidence.”

The woman, a circus singer named Jacque Hollander, turned over a plastic bin she said was filled with evidence, as well as a list of possible witnesses and printed text messages, to prosecutors. Hollander also alleges that Brown’s third wife, Adrienne, who died in 1996, was murdered.

James Brown
James Brown in October 2006
| Credit: Jo Hale/Getty Images

Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006 at age 73, with the cause of death attributed to heart failure and pneumonia. In 2019, however, CNN published an extensive investigative series in which Hollander and a dozen others who knew Brown — including his manager, his son Daryl, Brown’s widow Tomi Rae Hynie, and the doctor who signed Brown’s death certificate — raised suspicions about the musician’s death and called for an autopsy, a criminal investigation, or both. (No autopsy was performed at the time of Brown’s death.)

Marvin Crawford, the doctor, told CNN he never believed Brown died of natural causes. “He changed too fast,” Crawford said. “He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded….But he died that night, and I did raise that question: What went wrong in that room?” (Brown became ill two days before his death.)

Published in Feb. 2019, CNN’s investigation did not lead to any action from law enforcement until Howard agreed in January to meet with Hollander. A decision on whether to pursue an investigation will be made in the coming weeks.

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