Judge lets Stephen Belafonte visit daughter during bitter Mel B divorce battle

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The estranged husband of Leeds-born Mel B can visit his young daughter despite facing claims of domestic violence and links to the porn industry, a court has ruled.

Stephen Belafonte appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday where a judge extended a temporary restraining order granted to the ex-Spice Girl after she accused him of years of physical and emotional abuse.

But Judge Lawrence Riff ordered that Belafonte could see his five-year-old daughter Madison twice a week at a supervised centre as the couple continue their bitter divorce battle.

Lawyers for the singer - whose full name is Melanie Brown - had opposed granting Belafonte visitation rights, branding him a “convicted domestic violence offender” with an “extensive criminal history”.

“This man represents a continuing danger to the child,” Brown’s lawyer Larry Bakman said.

Belafonte was “involved in adult pornography” and the “importation of women from other countries” to work in the industry as well as “possible money laundering”, he added.

The lawyer also claimed Belafonte had brought into his home a rapper known as Tru Life who had served eight years for manslaughter.

“He had a convicted felon who was just released from prison residing in the family home and sleeping in Madison’s bed,” the lawyer said.

Mr Bakman said he had evidence on a “large number of computers” that Belafonte was involved in pornography.

“The evidence will show Mr Belafonte is involved in the leasing of various locations throughout the city for the use of pornographic films,” he said.

Mr Bakman said new evidence was developing about Belafonte’s use of “assets for various illegal, nefarious activities”.

He added that he expected a divorce trial to take at least 10 to 15 days as 20 witnesses had come forward and “that witness list is growing daily”.

Brown, who filed for divorce on March 20 citing “irreconcilable differences”, did not attend the hearing.

Belafonte’s lawyer Grace Jamra said the allegations against her client were part of “an ongoing smear campaign”.

She told the court: “We’re not going to address evidence that is being developed or fabricated or manufactured.”

She added: “Mother Teresa does not marry Attila the Hun.”

Ms Jamra said Belafonte had already gone three weeks without contact with Madison.

Judge Riff said he did not have jurisdiction to grant Belafonte visitation rights to his stepdaughter Angel, whose father is Eddie Murphy.

He also ordered that both Brown and Belafonte did not “disparage” each other in front of their daughter.

Brown was granted a temporary restraining order earlier this month after claiming she was the victim of “multiple physical beatings” at the hands of Belafonte.

In court papers, the 41-year-old singer said her husband had threatened to “destroy” her career by releasing sex tapes of her.

Lawyers for Belafonte have branded the allegations “outrageous and unfounded”.

Brown, who is now a judge on America’s Got Talent, married film producer Belafonte in Las Vegas in June 2007.

A preliminary hearing was fixed for August 18, while the full divorce hearing is due to begin on September 25.

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