LaBelle Defends Bodyguard

Patti LaBelle spoke on behalf of bodyguard Efrem Holmes during his misdemeanor assault trial in Houston Nov. 7 stemming from a 2011 incident.

The singer testified in Harris County Criminal Court that she, along with son and manager Zuri Edwards, and Holmes were preparing to leave George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston for a gig in Louisiana when Richard King, appearing intoxicated, tried to enter LaBelle’s vehicle.

Photo: AP Photo / Houston Chronicle, Mayra Beltran
Patti LaBelle testifies for the defense during her bodyguard’s misdemeanor assault trial at Harris County Criminal Court in Houston Nov. 7.

When he was not allowed in, King allegedly became loud and screamed racial slurs at LaBelle. Edwards stepped in and was punched by King. Holmes then intervened and hit King, which caused the West Point cadet to fall and sustain a head injury.

King, whose blood alcohol level was .28 percent – more than three times the state legal limit to drive – originally claimed Holmes attacked him without provocation.

He has since testified he doesn’t remember the details of the incident. LaBelle and King have also filed civil lawsuits in the case, both seeking unspecified damages.