Chief Defendant Tells Her Side In ‘Cotton Club’ Trial
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The woman accused of ordering the 1983 murder of a New York producer in ″The Cotton Club″ case took the witness stand Thursday, absolving herself and blaming a co-defendant for the killing.
Karen DeLayne ″Lanie″ Greenberger said she was ordered by her former lover, William Mentzer, to get out of a limousine in which she and producer Roy Radin were riding the night he was killed.
That was the last she saw of Radin, she said.
Mrs. Greenberger blamed Mentzer, 42, who sat with his head down taking notes as she testified. She and Radin were in a limo driven by co-defendant, Robert Lowe, she said.
Under questioning by her attorney, Marcia Morrissey, Mrs. Greenberger, 43, said she had hoped that night to settle her differences with Radin over the movie, ″The Cotton Club,″ a financial deal in which she was aligned with another of her lovers, Hollywood producer Robert Evans.
But Mentzer, she said, was working for a Miami drug kingpin and had been sent to find out if Radin had stolen $1 million in drugs and cash.
″Mr. Radin and I were talking about the movie, the negotiations with Mr. Evans,″ Mrs. Greenberger said of the conversation in the limo.
″He was in a boisterous belligerent mood. He was telling me I ought to get on his side, that he was going to take over the company and Mr. Evans,″ she said.
Mrs. Greenberger said Radin became so expressive that he knocked over a bucket of champagne and ice in the car.
″I was in the process of leaning over to pick up the champagne bucket and all of a sudden the limo turned up a side street very quickly,″ she said. ″Almost simultaneously, when it turned, the two back doors opened on both sides of the car.″
″Did you see anyone outside the car?″ asked Ms. Morrissey.
″I saw Mr. Mentzer and he just told me to get out and get into the car - there was a car pulled up there - and to go to the apartment,″ Mrs. Greenberger said.
″Did you do that?″ asked Ms. Morrissey.
″Yes, I did,″ said Mrs. Greenberger.
″Why?″ asked the attorney.
″I didn’t know what else to do,″ she said.
She said Mentzer got into the limousine with Radin and the car drove off.
Radin, 33, an obese, cocaine sniffing impresario, disappeared that night, May 13, 1983. His bullet riddled body was found June 10, 1983, in a dry creek bed near Gorman.
Mrs. Greenberger said she didn’t learn Radin’s fate until Mentzer summoned her to his apartment at 5 a.m.
″He told me Mr. Radin had had a gun, that there had been a struggle,″ she said. ″He’d been very angry, very upset and he’d been killed.″
She said she became upset but didn’t call the police because ″I was involved in drug dealing and I was afraid to.″
Mrs. Greenberger portrayed herself as the unwilling pawn of Mentzer and Milano Bellechasses, a Miami cocaine kingpin for whom she sold drugs. Her defense has suggested that Bellechasses ordered Radin killed.
Prosecutors say Mrs. Greenberger hired Mentzer, Lowe and Alex Marti, former bodyguards for porn magazine publisher Larry Flynt, to kill Radin when he threatened to cut her out of ″The Cotton Club″ deal.
The three men are on trial with Mrs. Greenberger in a case that has stretched over eight months.
Evans was called as a prosecution witness in a 1989 preliminary hearing but refused to testify, invoking Fifth Amendment protection against self- incrimination. Prosecutors did not call him as a witness during the trial.