Patti LaBelle says she 'loves Houston’ despite bodyguard’s pending court case

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by Tim Wetzel / KHOU 11 News & KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 11:37 PM

HOUSTON -- Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle was in Houston Thursday to testify in the trial of one of her bodyguards who has been charged with assaulting a West Point cadet at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Prosecutor say Efrem Holmes punched Richard King when he got too close to LaBelle's limo in 2011.

At the time, King was a 23-year-old West Point Cadet coming home on Spring Break.

LaBelle claims King called her a name, swore at her and punched her son and says Holmes was just doing his job. But prosecutors say the bodyguard went way too far.

Security cameras showed Houston native Richard King being beaten outside Terminal C in March. King said three of LaBelle’s bodyguards attacked him. He said he was waiting for his family to pick him up when he was attacked.

The video shows two men begin to push King, eventually appearing to hit him and push him into a concrete pillar.

King admitted he had been drinking before he approached LaBelle’s limousine outside Bush airport. He told a jury on Thursday that he had four drinks on the plane and another at the airport before he approached the singer’s car.

He said the next thing he remembered was waking up in a hospital bed.

King was originally charged with assault before the surveillance video suggested it was LaBelle’s bodyguard who was the aggressor.

King filed a lawsuit in the case, which claims LaBelle ordered her bodyguards to attack him. LaBelle filed a countersuit saying the altercation began after the cadet hurled racial insults at her.

Things got a bit tense in the courtroom when LaBelle kept addressing the prosecutor as "dear". Assistant District Attorney Kaylynn Williford asked LaBelle to refer to her as "Ms. Williford". Labelle shot back, "whatever."

At one point Williford told the judge that LaBelle was being "non-responsive" to her questions.

LaBelle refused to comment on the exchange and instead told reporters she admires the Bayou City.

"I think i might move to Houston, I love Houston," LaBelle said.

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