A judge threatened to jail movie producer Robert Evans for contempt of court Friday after he refused to testify about a 6-year-old murder case involving "The Cotton Club." Evans invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
"Mr. Evans, this court can hold you in contempt and this court can order you incarcerated if you do not answer the questions, do you understand that, sir?" asked Municipal Court Judge Patti Jo McKay."Yes," Evans replied almost in a whisper.
His lawyer, Robert L. Shapiro said the producer of such hits as "The Godfather," "Chinatown" and "Love Story" refused to testify because the prosecution refuses to clear him as a suspect in the murder of Roy Radin.
Radin, a New York theatrical producer, was found shot to death in 1983. Cocaine, the lure of easy money and Hollywood avarice surrounded his murder, authorities said.
Radin had offered to help Evans raise funds for "The Cotton Club" before he disappeared. Prosecutors allege Karen Delayne "Laynie" Greenberger, a 41-year-old reputed drug dealer, ordered Radin's killing in a dispute over a multimillion-dollar deal to finance the 1984 film "The Cotton Club."
"Mr. Evans has told me that he is absolutely innocent of any involvement," Shapiro told the judge. But he added he could not advise Evans to testify while a cloud of suspicion hangs over him.
Deputy District Attorney David Conn said he would not grant Evans immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony.
"Mr. Evans is a witness and he is nothing more than a witness at this time," said Conn. He suggested that if Evans is innocent, nothing he says could incriminate him.
The judge granted a request by Shapiro for time to file legal citations with the court. She ordered Evans to return to court Monday morning.
Evans had waited in the courthouse most of the day while procedural motions were argued. He was called as the first witness in a case involving Hollywood's inner circle, the porno empire of "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt and a major cocaine network.