Lil Wayne was arraigned late Monday on a felony charge of gun-possession in connection with his arrest Sunday night following his first headlining New York show.
According to attorney Stacey Richman, Wayne (born Dwayne Carter Jr.) was released Monday evening on $70,000 bond and will appear in court again in November on the charge, which carries a minimum prison sentence of three and a half years (see "Lil Wayne Arrested On Gun-Possession Charge In New York"). Richman said the arrest — and another one just hours before of Ja Rule on similar gun-possession charges (see "Ja Rule Arrested, Charged With Weapons Possession") — was puzzling to her.
"He [Wayne] was in the bus in his boxer shorts with a number of other people," Richman told MTV News. "Unless his boxer shorts had a pocket for this gun, I don't understand how he had it on him."
Though some reports have quoted prosecutors describing a scenario in which Wayne tossed a bag containing the .40-caliber pistol as police entered the bus, Richman said her numerous witness interviews have not confirmed that version of events.
Several hip-hop artists who joined Lil Wayne onstage Sunday night had run-ins with the police and Beacon Theatre security outside the venue prior to the show (see "Kanye West, Ja Rule, Juelz Santana Jump Onstage For Lil Wayne's First-Ever NYC Solo Show").
Richman's father and legal partner, famed hip-hop attorney Murray Richman, claimed the arrest was a result of an action by New York's police-detective "hip-hop squad," which "staked out the [tour] bus." Murray Richman added that the .40-caliber gun police found in the bus was in the same area in which Wayne was changing clothes and was a legally registered handgun, but did not belong to the rapper. More puzzling to the attorneys is why the other 12 to 20 people on the bus were not arrested along with Wayne, given New York laws that require that everyone in a vehicle with an unclaimed gun be charged if that vehicle is searched by police.
The other person arrested in the incident along with Wayne was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, given a desk-appearance ticket and released. Prosecutors claim that as police closed in on the bus — which they said they approached after smelling marijuana — the man charged with marijuana possession allegedly flushed 7 ounces of the substance down the bus' toilet, according to Jennifer Kushner, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's office. The marijuana was retrieved and introduced into evidence.
A New York Police Department spokesperson would not comment on the Richmans' assertions, citing the ongoing investigation. The prosecutor's office would also not comment further on the Richmans' allegations that the incident was selective policing by the "hip-hop squad" of the NYPD or explain why the other people on the bus were not brought in on the same gun charge as Wayne.
In Ja Rule's case, the other men in the car with him were all charged with a similar gun offense.