Busta Rhymes Rejects Plea Deal, Faces Four Separate Criminal Trials

Rapper due to return to court in early September to face charges of assault, drunk driving, driving with a suspended license.

There will be no plea deal for Busta Rhymes — not yet, at least.

Rhymes was back in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Tuesday (July 10) to once again reject a plea offer from the prosecution in exchange for a one-year prison term, The Associated Press reported. Instead, Rhymes (real name: Trevor Smith) will leave his fate in the hands of Judge Larry Stephen, who, on Tuesday morning, ordered four separate criminal trials — one for each of the charges pending against the New York rapper.

“It’s the same offer” that was made during Rhymes’ last court appearance, the rapper’s attorney, Scott Leemon, told AP, “and it’s one which Busta adamantly rejects.”

Rhymes was arrested in May for the fourth time in less than a year and charged with drunk driving. According to police, he admitted then that he had downed a single shot of cognac about an hour before his arrest. He was also jailed briefly back in February after police stopped him for running a red light, only to discover he was driving with a suspended license.

The rapper is also facing two assault charges — one stemming from the alleged beating of his former driver over a pay dispute in a December 26 incident outside Rhymes’ lower Manhattan office (see “Busta Rhymes Charged For Alleged Assault; Released On Bail” ), and the other for assaulting a fan following his August 12 appearance at the AmsterJam Music Festival on New York’s Randalls Island last summer (see “Lawyer Claims Busta Rhymes Arrest Is ‘Payback’ “ ).

Stephen also denied a motion from the prosecution to consolidate Rhymes’ two assault cases and adjourned the cases until September 5, when he is expected to set a hearing and trial date for the first of the four offenses; the prosecution did not move to have the drunk-driving and suspended-license cases consolidated.

“The two assault cases cannot be consolidated,” Leemon said. “The decision today validated Busta’s defenses to the assault cases. We detailed to the court that we have defense to these cases, and the court agreed.”

Stephen has yet to rule on whether statements the rapper made to police before and after his arrests will be admissible during trial, but he is expected to hold hearings on the matter in the coming months.