Singer Anita Baker avoids jail in royalty dispute

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Anita Baker's Friday began with the threat of jail hanging over her.

It ended with the Grammy-winning R&B singer exiting a Detroit courtroom, smiling and excited to get her weekend started.

What made the 52-year-old Grosse Pointe resident so happy was that she and her lawyers were able to reach an agreement with her ex-husband's attorney to create a process that eventually will decide how much Walter Bridgforth is owed in music royalties as part of the couple's divorce settlement.

"I'm so happy. ... I have never been in such a position before," Baker said in the hallway outside court. "And we don't intend to ever be in such a position ever again. I just wanna go home, and I'm happy to go home. ... As horrific as it could have been, it was lovely to feel supported, though, on the other end."

Baker, best-known for hits such as "Giving You the Best That I Got," faced a deadline of this past Wednesday to sign documents to empower court-appointed music contract expert Howard Hertz to seek information from the record companies on the amount owed to Bridgforth.

But when that deadline passed and Baker again didn't sign Thursday, Wayne County Chief Family Court Judge Lita Masini Popke ordered the singer back to court Friday to sign or be jailed.

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