Judge Acquits Entertainer Accused Of Posing As Toni Braxton
First Published: June 9, 2009 2:44 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood
PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- A Toni Braxton impersonator was acquitted Tuesday of trying to fool paying customers into thinking she’s the real thing.
Judge Robby Rodrigues said it wasn’t clear whether Trina Johnson-Finn knew that concert-goers had been led to believe she was really Toni Braxton. The Las Vegas entertainer had spent three months in jail awaiting a verdict.
A crowd of 3,000 people pelted Johnson-Finn with beer cans and booed her offstage in February when they realized she was not the six-time Grammy winner best known for the hit, “Un-break My Heart.” Some had paid as much as $53 per ticket.
“We’d like to once again express our apologies to the people of Suriname who lost their … earnings at the hands of those who deceived them as well as us,” husband Raymond Finn said in a statement.
“I’m delighted with the judge’s decision,” Johnson-Finn told reporters outside the courtroom. “It was hard dealing with the situation knowing I was innocent. But now I just want to go back home and hug my family, my husband. I haven’t seen them for so long.”
Prosecutors had requested she serve a one-year sentence with nine months of it suspended.
Defense attorney Kathleen Brandon said that part of the problem is that Surinamese are not familiar with the business of celebrity impersonating.
Concert promoter Angel Ventura and his girlfriend, Signet Sampson, are expected to stand trial in July. Ventura initially said that Johnson-Finn knew about the scam from the beginning, according to police, but he later retracted that allegation.
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