Woman Pleads Innocent In Belushi Drug Death
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Canadian rock singer Cathy Evelyn Smith has pleaded innocent to murder and drug charges in the death of comedian John Belushi and was ordered back to court next month for a preliminary hearing.
In entering the plea Wednesday, Ms. Smith reneged on an involuntary manslaughter plea bargain she had agreed to last month before her extradition from Canada.
Ms. Smith’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, said he would ask the court to delay the scheduled March 12 preliminary hearing because he was having trouble serving subpoenas on unidentified news reporters to testify.
Outside court, Weitzman said the reporters may include those who interviewed Ms. Smith for a controversial National Enquirer story about her alleged role in Belushi’s death on March 5, 1982.
Belushi, 33, the star of television’s ″Saturday Night Live″ and of films including ″Animal House,″ ″The Blues Brothers″ and ″Continental Divide,″ died in a rented bungalow at the Chateau Marmont hotel on the Sunset Strip. The coroner listed cause of death as acute heroin and cocaine poisoning.
Weitzman, who won acquittal for automaker John Z. De Lorean in a notorious cocaine trafficking case, took over Ms. Smith’s defense after she arrived in Los Angeles and announced she would no longer cooperate with the plea bargain. He said he felt there was sufficient evidence to prove her innocence.
Ms. Smith was indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury on one count of murder and 13 counts of supplying and administering drugs.
Grand jury testimony and published accounts, including Bob Woodward’s book ″Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi,″ said Belushi was on an extended drug spree before his death and Ms. Smith allegedly furnished and injected him with cocaine and heroin.
Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from Ms. Smith’s alleged actions in the days preceeding Belushi’s death up until the time he actually died.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Montagna on Wednesday protested any long delay of the preliminary hearing, saying he is ready to proceed and can produce his witnesses at any time.
″We just want to get it rolling as rapidly as possible,″ he told reporters.
But Weitzman told Municipal Court Judge Ramona Godoy Perez that he is subpoenaing many witnesses from out of state and believes that some of them will attempt to resist the subpoenas. He said he wanted time to litigate such matters before the hearing begins.