B.B. King kin enlist new lawyer to probe estate suspicions

AP News
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Posted: Jun 12, 2015 6:12 PM
B.B. King kin enlist new lawyer to probe estate suspicions

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two of B.B. King's daughters said Friday they have enlisted a lawyer involved in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, to review their suspicions that the blues icon's longtime business manager looted his accounts and hastened his death in Las Vegas.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, appearing at a Las Vegas courthouse with another lawyer already handling a challenge to King's designated estate executor, said he'll take an independent look at King's death May 14 at age 89 and the handling of his finances.

"They're not being accusatory. They just want to find out the truth of all that happened with their father," Crump said of King daughters Patty King and Karen Williams.

Attorney Brent Bryson, representing the B.B. King estate, and LaVerne Toney, the executor King named in his will, responded later that it didn't matter who represents the daughters.

"The allegations against Ms. Toney are absolutely false and without merit, and we look forward to our day in court," Bryson said. "The facts of the case are not going to change based on who they bring in to present the case."

Attorney Larissa Drohobyczer said she represents what she called a five-member family board of B.B. King's 11 surviving children, including Williams and Patty King. Drohobyczer said she believes the music legend's estate is worth between $5 million and $10 million.

Crump and Drohobyczer spoke after a hearing about the estate was rescheduled so it can be heard by the Clark County District Court judge heading Las Vegas probate courts. The hearing was later scheduled for June 25.

Four King daughters allege that Toney used her position as power-of-attorney while he was alive to move more than $1 million out of various bank accounts; denied King proper medical care; and prevented relatives from visiting him before he died.

Toney has denied the allegations, saying she acted according to wishes that King made clear to her before he died.

King's physician and the coroner in Las Vegas said King died of natural causes.

Crump didn't immediately endorse assertions by Williams and Patty King that Toney poisoned B.B. King to hasten his death. The Clark County coroner conducted an autopsy May 24. Toxicology test results are expected in several weeks.

"I don't know if that is the case," he said. "I'm coming in with a fresh set of eyes to review all these matters."

Crump said he also wanted to investigate whether there was another will.

Crump, of Tallahassee, Florida, represents the families of Trayvon Martin, the teenager fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer in 2012, and Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri. He also represents the families of Alesia Thomas, a Los Angeles woman who died after being kicked by a female Los Angeles police officer, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed by Cleveland police last year.

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This story has been updated with the new June 25 probate hearing date.