Ja Rule answered assault charges in Toronto on Monday with a not-guilty plea entered by his attorney. The rapper was not required to be in court, but his lawyer, Steven Skurka, made it quite clear where he and his client stood.
"You can underline that [not-guilty plea] three times," Skurka told reporters afterward, adding, "There's no celebrity justice here. You don't get treated differently in this country if your name is Martha, Michael or Ja Rule. Everyone is treated the same."
Ja is charged with assault causing bodily harm stemming from a June 5 incident at the La Rouge nightclub in Toronto's entertainment district (see "Ja Rule Charged With Assault In Toronto"). Further details have not been made public because of a publication ban (a media restriction ordered by judges in Canada to protect the privacy of victims or witnesses of crimes).
Also on Monday, a pretrial hearing was set for October 6. It was unclear whether Ja needs to attend.
Ja Rule lives in New Jersey but has been in Toronto for most of the summer shooting "Assault on Precinct 13" with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne (see "Ja Rule Getting Pointers From Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne").
It's been a long summer for the rapper, who was also charged in July with fifth-degree possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license (see "Ja Rule Arrested, Charged with Possessing Marijuana"). The marijuana charges were later dropped.
Ja's next album, R.U.L.E., is due in November (see "Gotti Hoping Golden R.U.L.E. Helps Restore Luster To The Inc.").