Jim Jones is not copping any pleas. The Harlem rapper was arraigned Tuesday (April 26) in a New York County Criminal Courthouse for charges of driving with a suspended license. MTV News spoke to Jones’ attorney Marianne E. Bertuna, who refuted reports that her client had passed on a plea deal.
“Everyone refers to it as a plea deal, but … the District Attorney’s office [offered] him what’s called a plea to the charge,” Bertuna told MTV News. “The charge is a misdemeanor. If they had made him an offer of, let’s say, a traffic infraction or a violation, then that would be a plea deal, because that’s a lower charge. They said, ‘Well, he could plea guilty to the misdemeanor,’ but that was just our first appearance.”
Tuesday’s court visit stems from Jones’ arrest March 30 in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Jones was spotted by cops driving a Bentley in a bus lane and was arrested when authorities discovered that the rapper’s license had been suspended over an unpaid parking ticket.
Bertuna said Jones was unaware of the outstanding fines that led to the suspension of his driver’s license. Jones did not enter a plea and plans to settle any outstanding fees with the New York DMV before his next scheduled court date on June 15.
“He’s been made aware that there’s an outstanding fine that needs to be paid. It’s really not anything excessive, and he’ll pay it,” Bertuna said. “Hopefully, when he does that, we will be able to negotiate with the DA’s office to make him a lower offer, meaning a traffic infraction, which would not be a crime.”
Last year, Jones pleaded guilty to an assault charge from a previous incident when he allegedly attacked another driver and was sentenced to anger-management classes. Also, a pair of Houston women who claim they were unwittingly filmed topless for Jones’ “Summer Time” video are currently suing the rapper.
The “We Fly High” MC recently reunited with the Diplomats (Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Freekey Zekey). The group is finalizing a new record deal with Interscope Records and plans to release an EP called Independence Day this summer.