With his dreads pulled back in a ponytail and wearing eyeglasses, a humble Lil Wayne appeared in a Fulton County, Georgia, courtroom on Thursday (October 11) to face a judge on year-old felony drug-possession charges that recently landed the hard-working MC in jail on a fugitive warrant.
Wayne's lawyer said the whole fiasco could have been avoided if someone had looked in Wayne's file and realized the rapper had never received his notice for an August court appearance. "The document in his file said it was returned undelivered 60 days before the warrant went out," explained Wayne's attorney, William Head. "The address they sent it to was from Wayne's driver's license from a place he lived in before Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, and the place was just gone. If they tried to send it there it was just a pile of dirt."
Wayne (born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) was originally arrested in August 2006 at the Twelve Hotel at Atlanta's Atlantic Station after a maintenance worker found two burnt marijuana cigarettes and two bottles of prescription drugs with someone else's name on them in one of the six rooms that were leased under Wayne's name, Head said. The room in question was not Wayne's, according to Head, but was a common dressing room used to change outfits and style the rapper for photo shoots, on a different floor from the one Wayne was staying on. "There was also an illegal search, but that's another issue we'll discuss in court," Head said.
Wayne bonded out quickly after the 2006 arrest and was later told by his then-attorney that the case had been dismissed, though it had not.
The mix-up led to Wayne's arrest on a fugitive warrant after a concert in Boise, Idaho, on Friday, which caused Wayne to miss a show in Oregon the next night because he wasn't able to bond out in time to fly to the gig. Head said the arrest and subsequent missed concert cost the rapper an estimated $500,000. "Wayne doesn't miss concerts," Head said. "He got out of jail about 30 minutes before the show in Eugene and he couldn't get to it because they couldn't get everyone on the plane in time and he hadn't slept for 32 hours. He's very upset about it."
Praising Wayne as the kind of person who shows up on time and does his job, Head added that as soon as he got the case last week he went right to work to get the hard-working MC back on track.
"When I got the case, my number-one objective was to get him out of jail and make certain I could represent to the judge I was going in front of to let him out of the no-bond warrant that was issued," Head said. "Once I told the judge that no one had gotten any information on this case, he said, 'How do I know you're telling the truth?' And I said, if you're making millions of dollars and your schedule is posted on the Internet and it says where you will be next, what purpose would there be for you to not show up to a hearing that you could easily fly in for? Does that make any sense to you?" It was then that Head said he was able to convince the judge to let Wayne out on a $10,000 bond.
Head said Wayne asked on Thursday to personally thank the judge for letting him out of jail on bond. "I thought that was a real stand-up thing to do," Head said of the judge's action quashing the no-bond order and letting Wayne out on bond. "Otherwise Wayne could still have been sitting in jail awaiting extradition." The next court date for the case will be October 31.