In an 18-page motion filed in New York federal court on Wednesday,
lawyers for King's estate asked U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet to
enforce a confidential settlement agreement that the estate's
lawyers said was reached between Belafonte, the estate and King's
youngest daughter, Bernice King.
Belafonte and Bernice King "both agreed immediately to be bound by
the terms of the parties' settlement agreement (over the documents)
on February 4, 2014, but both have since refused to execute the
written memorialization of that agreement," said Lisa Pearson, a
lawyer for the King estate.
"These parties lack any colorable basis for their improper refusal
to execute or abide by the agreement they entered, which has caused
unreasonable and unnecessary delay and expense and warrants an award
of the Estate's related costs, fees and expenses pursuant to the
court's inherent powers," said Pearson.
Belafonte had sued King's estate in October and asked the New York
court to declare him the owner of three documents associated with
King and his widow, Coretta Scott King, and to bar Bernice King from
trying to claim ownership of the items.
The documents were an outline of King's "Casualties of the War in
Vietnam" speech that Belafonte said he has had in his possession
since 1967; the "Memphis Speech" that was undelivered and found in
one of King's suit pockets after his 1968 assassination; and a
condolence letter that President Lyndon Johnson sent to Coretta
Scott King after his death.
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The motion did not detail the terms of the settlement, but said it
had been finalized and lawyers had agreed on language of a press
release about the agreement.
Lawyers for King's estate, Belafonte and Bernice King could not be
immediately reached for comment.
Pearson requested Belafonte and King to pay the estate's costs and
fees in connection with the motion.
(Reporting by Casey Sullivan and Nate Raymond in New York;
by Lisa Shumaker and Mohammad Zargham)
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