Ex-Prince divorce attorney claims estate owes him thousands in legal bills

The battle over Prince's money continues in Carver County Court. On Friday, a former attorney claimed there are unpaid bills from Prince's divorce.

The trust representing Prince's estate has already denied the claim as being far too old. Now, it argued over the attorney's appeal, saying he waited too long.

The hearing lasted 30 minutes about claims dating back ten years.

Patrick Cousins says he became Prince's lawyer around 2004 and in 2006 to 2007 he handled the musician’s second divorce. He claims legal bills connected to that are still outstanding.

“When we were doing work for him, we weren't thinking ‘Let's hurry up and get him a bill’ or ‘Let's make sure he pays us now, even though he tells us he's going to pay us soon,’” said Cousins.

His claim, filed with the court September 2, is the estate owes him $559,000, but had no itemization and no proof.

Trust attorneys say they asked for documents.

“And the Cousins Law Firm responded by demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in copying charges,” said Joseph Cassioppi, a trust attorney.

It was denied based on Minnesota law that sets a six-year time limit to take unpaid bills to court.

Cousins’ reply is he was still working on loose ends until weeks before Prince died and that he's hesitant to make the documents public.

“And to deny work that was clearly done and I have the bills, I have all the time tickets, I have them all, but again didn't submit them because it's not the evidentiary hearing standpoint,” said Cousins.

This isn't Cousins’ first claim on the estate. He also represented prison inmate Carlin Williams, who claimed to be Prince's son until DNA tests proved otherwise.

This court hearing was to challenge his legal bill denial. Trust attorneys argued he had two months to file an appeal and Cousins took nearly three, saying it took weeks for the letter to arrive in the mail.

“You know somebody owes you some money and you discretely wait and do what you think you're supposed to do and it's not a dispute,” said Cousins. “Wasn't any argument that we didn't do the work, not any argument that it wasn't good work. We've got the bills.”

The judge has yet to make a ruling on the claim.