Former B.B. King aide accuses 3 daughters of defamation

AP News
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Posted: Sep 11, 2015 6:18 PM
Former B.B. King aide accuses 3 daughters of defamation

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former personal aide to B.B. King is suing three of the late blues legend's daughters in Las Vegas over their allegations that King was poisoned before he died in May.

Myron Johnson's civil lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court accuses Karen Williams, Patty King and Rita Washington of seven causes of action including defamation, slander, libel and conspiracy.

Patty King declined to comment Friday. Williams didn't immediately respond to messages.

Washington said she hadn't seen the lawsuit but she thought it was a product of a dispute between Williams and Johnson, who are half siblings.

"We knew it was just going to be a mess as everything unfolds," Washington said.

Johnson, who isn't B.B. King's son, was employed by and traveled with the musician and King's longtime business agent, LaVerne Toney.

Johnson was at King's bedside when King died May 14 in hospice care at home in Las Vegas at age 89.

The Clark County coroner said King died of natural causes attributable to age and a longtime battle with Type 2 diabetes.

Johnson's lawyer in the defamation case is Brent Bryson, who is also the lawyer for King's estate.

Bryson points to separate police and county elder care agency investigations of King's care, and affidavits from his personal physician and two other doctors. None said they found that B.B. King was abused.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages greater than $10,000.

Using King's given name, it cites comments it says were made beginning in late 2014 that Johnson was "physically, emotionally and financially abusing Riley B. King ... and murdering Mr. King."

Williams and Patty King made the same allegations against Toney in signed documents distributed by their lawyer, Larissa Drohobyczer, 10 days after B.B. King's death.

"I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances," Patty King and Williams say in identically worded sections of what Drohobyczer called affidavits. "I believe my father was murdered."

Williams and Patty King have been most outspoken of King's 11 surviving adult children about B.B. King's care in his final days. Washington joined them at court hearings and news conferences, but didn't put her claims in writing.

Drohobyczer said Friday she was "shocked" by the filing. She said truth is a defense to a defamation claim.

Toney, who had power-of-attorney over King's affairs, and Johnson both denied the allegations at the time.

Toney decided not to be part of Johnson's lawsuit after a judge put her in charge of King's estate, Bryson said.

"Her name was already cleared and the allegations toward her were put to rest when she was made executor," Bryson said Friday.

Johnson denied the allegations before and after B.B. King died. But Bryson said the lawsuit offered Johnson his first chance to clear his name.