Amy Winehouse’s husband beat up a pub landlord and then offered him $400,000 to keep quiet about the attack, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Prosecution lawyer Sean Larkin said barman James King suffered a broken cheekbone in the June 2006 attack by Blake Fielder-Civil and another man — but was willing to accept money to spare his attackers jail.
King, 36, is on trial for conspiring to pervert the course of justice (the equivalent of obstruction of justice in the U.S.). He denies the charge, and says he was intimidated into withdrawing the assault claim.
Larkin told the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court that a deal had been struck for King to retract his statement, leave the country and not show up for any trial, “and that Mr. King expected to be paid something in the order of 200,000 pounds.”
Fielder-Civil, 26, pleaded guilty last week to perverting the course of justice, and also admitted assault. Three other men — James Kennedy, Anthony Kelly and Michael Brown — also pleaded guilty to involvement in the plot. All three face jail terms when they are sentenced later.
Larkin said Kennedy and Kelly contacted the Daily Mirror and tried to sell their story of the beating and the cover-up. The newspaper went to the police.
“He was told by Kelly, ‘Who do you think is paying for it? Of course she is,”’ Larkin said.
Singer not charged
In December, police arrested and questioned Winehouse on suspicion of attempting to interfere with Fielder-Civil’s case. The singer was released without charge, and Larkin said there was no evidence to suggest she was involved.
In a statement, King said he was pressured into making a video recording of himself withdrawing his allegation of assault.
“I was told that I would have to say that I was not under duress, which was as far from the truth as possible,” King said.
“Apparently the video was for Amy Winehouse. It seems they were extorting her for money to make this go away,” he said.
Winehouse and Fielder-Civil were married in Miami in May 2007. He was arrested in November and has been in jail ever since.
Winehouse, 24, released the Grammy-winning album, “Back to Black,” in 2006. Her music has been overshadowed by reports of her troubled personal life.
In the latest tabloid storm, Winehouse defended herself against allegations of racism after a newspaper published footage of her singing a ditty loaded with racial epithets.