BB King's estate is 'dragging his daughters through the mud', says lawyer

Row about the blues legend’s death rumbles on, as lawyer for King’s daughters insists they are not motivated by money

The bitter row between BB King’s daughters and his business manager is rumbling on in the wake of the bluesman’s death, with the lawyer representing Karen Williams and Patty King saying King’s business team are “dragging mourning daughters through the mud”.

Williams and King believe their father was poisoned, and have said the suspect, King’s manager LaVerne Toney and his personal assistant Myron Johnson of giving him nightly doses of an unknown “foreign substance” before his death.

The Clark County coroner’s office in Nevada is investigating the claims, but coroner John Fudenberg has said there is no immediate evidence to support the allegations.

“Until such time as the Clark County coroner determines Mr King’s death to be from other than natural causes, the Las Vegas metropolitan police department is NOT moving forward with any investigation,” the police public information office told the Guardian earlier this week.

Brent Bryson, a lawyer acting for the King estate, has also dismissed the claims. “The allegations are baseless and unfounded and are unsupported in reality,” he said on Tuesday. “Ms Toney did everything she could to carry out the wishes of Mr King while he was alive, and continues to carry out Mr King’s wishes after his death.”

Bryson told the New York Daily News on Tuesday that the allegations were motivated by money. King had set up a trust for his descendants, but reportedly left sums of only $3,000 to $5,000 to his 15 children. “My guess is the children and grandchildren don’t like the fact he’s leaving them $3,000 and $5,000 each and then leaving the rest to his lineage for education,” he said. “BB did not have a very high formal education, and he wanted to have his lineage go to college, so he set up a trust that would pay for college and other expenses.”

Now Larissa Drohobyczer, attorney for Williams and King has issued a statement to Rolling Stone. “Karen and Patty have nothing to gain financially by getting [the] truth on how their father died. Nothing,” she said. “Mr Bryson is unnecessarily dragging mourning daughters through the mud for no apparent reason.

“Not one family member was allowed to see BB for a week prior to his death, not even his friend. That really hurt and angered Karen and Patty deeply. Ms. Toney kept BB’s family from him and he died without one family member by his side. That is what raised reasonable suspicion as to his cause of death for Patty and Karen. My clients just want answers.

“Just because someone is already dying doesn’t mean they can’t be killed! This happens quite often … I think a reasonable person [would] be concerned if they were unable to see their loved one the entire time he/she was in hospice. My clients have not made public accusations about criminal activities; they just want the matter investigated and they want peace.”

Bryson countered that King saw who he wanted to see, and that his granddaughter Valerie Byrd had visited before his death. “Ms. Toney has been severely disparaged, defamed, slandered and caused to suffer emotional distress all as a result of the untrue, extreme and outrageous comments made by Patty, Karen and their attorney,” he said. “Those issues will be dealt with at an appropriate time. Let our attention be presently focused on Mr King.”

King’s attending physician said he died of multi-infarct dementia. His funeral will be held in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, on Friday.


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