Fulton judge unexpectedly steps down from Usher custody case - CBS46 News

Fulton judge unexpectedly steps down from Usher custody case

Posted: Updated:

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane, who presided over the contentious child custody case between singer Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Raymond, recused herself from the case Thursday.  

Lane's decision in September to award custody of the children to the singer and actor raised questions about her connection to Usher's attorney, John Mayoue. 

The recusal came the day after Tameka Raymond's attorney, Lisa West, filed a motion to preserve information on computers used by Lane's late sister for her re-election to the bench.

In a statement to CBS Atlanta News, West said "these records were in the possession of Judge Lane's sister who passed away in March 2012 and are now in the possession of her sister's estate. Judge Lane and her sister's children are at odds over who will be the administrator over her sister's estate."

West said the computer may contain "valuable information highly relevant" to the issue of Judge Lane's recusal presented in the Raymond case and countless other cases currently pending. 

In October, CBS Atlanta News reported Lane didn't disclose in court that Usher's attorney, John Mayoue may have helped her get re-elected. Mayoue was a partner in the now defunct, Warner, Mayoue, Bates & Nolen, PC, which contributed to Lane's campaign and held a fundraiser for Lane in 2008.

In October, West argued unsuccessfully that Lane should recuse herself from the Raymond case because Lane didn't disclose that Mayoue was allegedly on Lane's re-election committee and had helped her garner nearly 83 percent of the funds in Lane's campaign coffers leading up to the election. Lane denied the motion for recusal in October but apparently changed her mind two months later. 

According to the recusal order dated Dec. 13, Lane wrote that West had "inappropriate use of the Court's personal email account and has made false and inappropriate allegations in connection with the Court's recently deceased sister."

Lane also recused herself from another case, Bruce Davis Smith vs. Bridgette Morris Smith, which is being litigated by West and Mayoue.

A request for an interview with Lane was not immediately answered. 

Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.