Rapper Ja Rule will head to court this summer to face a gun charge stemming back to 2007, according to The Associated Press. On Tuesday (June 8), a New York City judge set an August 18 trial date for Ja Rule, who was charged with criminal possession of a weapon three years ago.
The Grammy-nominated hip-hop star was on New York's Upper West Side, when the car he was riding in was stopped by police for speeding. Ja and two associates were subsequently charged with weapon possession after a .40-caliber Taurus pistol was found; the car's registration had also been suspended. Ja Rule has pleaded not guilty and was not present on Tuesday. (The rapper, who is shooting a movie on location, was given permission to skip the court date.)
The August court date comes after the judge denied Rule's request for a hearing regarding DNA evidence. According to the New York Post, prosecutors claim that a miniscule amount of the hip-hop artist's DNA was found on the handgun. However, Rule's lawyer, Stacey Richman, has argued that the DNA sample is too tiny to provide reliable test results. Yet, the judge asserted the reliability of the DNA test methods, referencing a case in which the same DNA testing that Rule's defense is contesting became instrumental in exonerating a defendant who spent four years in jail. The Post also reported that Richman will explore whether the judge might be willing to re-evaluate his decision regarding the DNA testing.
Ja Rule was arrested on the same night as Lil Wayne, who is currently serving a yearlong jail sentence, after pleading guilty to felony gun possession in 2009.