Jailed US tribute artiste acquitted in Suriname

By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent
Email: [email protected]

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — A judge in Suriname on Tuesday acquitted a US-based tribute artiste on charges that she tried to pass herself off as six-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton during a concert in February.

Prosecutors were seeking a twelve month jail term with a nine months suspension. Judge Robby Rodrigues ruled however that there wasn’t enough evidence to establish whether Trina Johnson-Finn knowingly tried to fool concertgoers.

During the trial, show promoter and main suspect Angel Ventura gave evidence that the singer wasn’t aware that she was being promoted in radio and tv ads as the genuine Toni Braxton and that she had no part in the scam. The singer from the start of the investigations maintained her innocence.

Johnson-Finn’s contract stipulated that she was being hired as an impersonator for a private party and that she would not be promoted as the real Braxton.

Patrons, who paid up to US$53 to see the show, jeered Johnson-Finn and pelted her with bottles and beer cans when they realized she wasn’t the real deal. She was rushed off the stage and subsequently jailed on fraud charges. Show promoter Angel Ventura vanished with the proceeds from ticket sales and only three weeks ago police arrested him with his partner Signet Sampson. Their trial is yet to start.