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Singer James Brown testified he never improperly touched the 36-year-old executive who claims she was fired when she refused his advances and complained about his behavior. “I wouldn’t do that,” the 68-year-old godfather of soul said Tuesday on the witness stand in Los Angeles. Lisa Ross Agbalaya, a married mother of three children, claims Brown grabbed her, made unwanted sexual advances and fired her from his company after she complained. Her sexual harassment lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages. Brown said nothing improper ever occurred. “I have never touched Miss Ross Agbalaya in my life. She’s a married woman and I wouldn’t do that,” Brown said during cross-examination. Brown said he was always careful to have other people present when Agbalaya was with him. While he testified, Agbalaya sat almost motionless. Agbalaya said she was fired as president of West Coast operations for The New James Brown Enterprises Inc. in February 2000 after she complained. Brown’s attorney, Debra Opri, said her termination was a business decision made after Brown closed his West Coast office. Agbalaya’s attorney, Shelly McMillan, asked the singer if he was glassy-eyed and smelling of marijuana when he allegedly grabbed Agbalaya by the hips and pulled her toward him. “I didn’t touch nobody, and I didn’t use marijuana,” he said. “I had two people there. We made sure I wasn’t going to be alone with Mrs. Agbalaya.” Outside court, Brown told reporters he was “uncomfortable” on the stand. “But I have to be here,” said the entertainer. “My name is important. That’s all I have.” Brown, whose hits include “I Got You (I Feel Good),” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” served a sentence for assault and weapons convictions from 1988 to 1991. In 1998, he completed a 90-day drug treatment program to avoid a two-year prison sentence on marijuana and gun charges. Brown said he used the marijuana for medicinal purposes to treat eye ailments. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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