Tags: patti labelle | entourage | cleared | assault | cadet

Patti LaBelle's Entourage Cleared in Assault of Cadet

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 12:28 PM

Patti LaBelle's entourage was cleared by a civil jury in Houston on Tuesday after three of its members were sued by a former West Point cadet who claimed they attacked him in 2011 while he was waiting for a ride home from the airport.

According to NBC affiliate KPRC, the former cadet, Richard King, originally sued LaBelle in addition to Zuri Edwards, LaBelle's manager and son, Efrem Holmes, her bodyguard, and Norma Harris, her hairdresser — but LaBelle was dropped from the suit early in the trial.

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"Absolute success, exactly what we felt should have happened," said the defendants' attorney, Phillip Robert Brinson, commenting on the verdict.

In the suit, Kind alleged that he was attacked without provocation while waiting outside the Bush Intercontinental Airport by the 400-pound bodyguard and other members of LaBelle's entourage. He was on spring break from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Stars and Stripes reported.

King claimed he had to drop out of the academy after suffering a traumatic brain injury during the altercation, during which he hit his head on a concrete pillar.

Geoffrey Bracken, another of LaBelle's attorneys, pointed out that King had a blood alcohol level of 0.28 at the time, and said King punched Edwards before anyone in LaBelle's entourage responded with physical force. Braken also said that King's career at West Point ended because of his poor academic performance, not any injury.

After viewing airport security footage of the fight, jurors sided with LaBelle's camp.

"We're stunned," said King's attorney, John Raley, after the verdict was handed down. "The videotape seemed very clear to everyone we've shown it to and seemed quite compelling so we really have no explanation for this."

He didn't say if his client planned to appeal the decision.

Efrem Holmes, LaBelle's bodyguard, was charged with misdemeanor assault following the altercation, but was found not guilty by a jury.

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Patti LaBelle's entourage was cleared by a civil jury in Houston on Tuesday after three of its members were sued by a former West Point cadet who claimed they attacked him in 2011 while he was waiting for a ride home from the airport.
patti labelle, entourage, cleared, assault, cadet
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2014-28-24
Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 12:28 PM
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