Jury Clears Patti LaBelle in Airport Assault

A federal jury on Tuesday cleared the Patti LaBelle and her entourage in the beating of a West Point cadet at George Bush International Airport.

Richard King sued LaBelle, her son, her hair dresser, and a 400-pound body guard after the March 2011 brawl. Attorneys for LaBelle and her crew claimed that King was drunk -- and with a blood alcohol level of 2.8, we think "drunk" might be an understatement -- and fresh off a flight home for Spring Break when he picked a fight with the Godmother of Soul. An airport security video showed King pushing a man near LaBelle's limo before the crew sprang into action, beating King back toward a pillar.

King claimed he couldn't finish classes and graduate from West Point because of a traumatic brain injury he suffered in the attack. Last week, right before trial was set to start before an all white jury, US District Judge Keith Ellis delayed proceedings and ordered a new jury pool -- good call, considering King's lawsuit called LaBelle's entourage "violent, paid thugs" and "personally hired hoodlums," and LaBelle's counterclaim alleged that a belligerent King hurled a racial slur at her before the fight.

King's attorney, John Raley, told the Chron he was shocked by Tuesday's verdict, saying, "I am bewildered. The videotaped evidence was so clear."


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