Actor Marlon Brando said Wednesday he has proof that his pregnant daughter was beaten, supporting his son's contention of accidentally shooting her lover during an angry quarrel about the alleged abuse.
"Cheyenne has suffered enormously. She's been beaten physically," Brando said, referring to his 20-year-old daughter. "We have clear proof of that."
But the actor refused to elaborate, telling reporters that "unfortunately, it bears heavily on issues in the trial which will be brought out. You'll have a field day."
Brando's comments--the first public suggestion that evidence of abuse exists--came after a daylong hearing before Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Robert W. Thomas to decide certain pretrial matters.
Attorneys for both sides said they cannot comment on evidence.
Christian Brando, 32, is charged with the murder of Dag Drollet last May at his father's Mulholland Drive estate.
The elder Brando began what has now become a customary chat with reporters on court days by lashing out at the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Barshop, who is trying to force Cheyenne Brando to return from her home in Tahiti to testify. Prosecutors want her testimony to show that the shooting was premeditated.
Besides beatings allegedly by her lover, Brando said his daughter "has suffered a head injury (in an auto accident) in which . . . she had to have her face remade. She has suffered a nervous breakdown. She has been required to be in a sanitarium under a doctor's care.
"And for that man (Barshop) to keep chasing my daughter when it's been refused by the courts; when it's been refused on every occasion that he has tried to do that, I think is unspeakable. As a father, I am deeply offended."
The actor appeared calm and sure at first, then faltered when asked about the new grandson his daughter gave birth to this summer. "Tookie's doing fine, healthy, strong. And Cheyenne's doing her best. . . ." Brando stopped as tears brimmed in his eyes. "Excuse me, I'm sorry," he said. Reporters watched silently as the actor walked, sobbing quietly, to his car.
The emotional scene overshadowed the earlier courtroom proceedings, at which the judge refused to reduce the charge against Christian Brando from murder to manslaughter.
However, Thomas did rule that tape-recorded statements made by the defendant to police are inadmissible because the detective conducting the interview failed to properly advise him of his Miranda right to have an attorney appointed for him if he could not afford one.
The judge also ordered that Christian Brando be tried separately on an illegal weapons charge, possessing a machine gun, because it had no connection to the alleged murder.
Other pretrial matters will be argued Monday.