A 2011 altercation involving Patti LaBelle, her bodyguards and an alleged use of the n-word has finally went to trial.

Former West Point Cadet Richard King claims he was minding his business at one of the terminals of Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport when he was attacked by Efrem Holmes, LaBelle’s 400-pound bodyguard, as well as two other individuals, including her son Zuri Edwards.

The result of this supposed unprovoked attack forced King to drop out of the prestigious military academy after the fade delivered caused a traumatic brain injury, King’s lawyer says.

Of course there are two sides to every story and King may have left out some details because LaBelle’s legal defense say he was too drunk to remember.

Both sides agree that King had a blood alcohol level of 0.28, more than three times the legal limit for driving, and Geoffrey Bracken, one of LaBelle’s attorneys, even brought a large bottle of Jack Daniels to the courtroom to show jurors exactly how intoxicated he really was. Bracken also says King was hurling racial epithets at the group, even after being asked to step away from the vehicle they were boarding in. Allegedly, he also tried to open the passenger door.

Following the incident, both Holmes and Harris (LaBelle’s hairdresser) were charged with misdemeanor assault, with neither resulting in convictions. LaBelle’s attorneys also stated that King was already flunking out of West Point prior to the scuffle.

The trial is expected to last a week and LaBelle testified yesterday, September 16.


Photo: Joseph Marzullo/

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