After spending 27 days in a New York prison stemming from a 1995 robbery
charge, Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah was released on Monday, having
pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted robbery.
The rapper, who was arrested last month on an alleged illegal weapons-possession
charge, now faces five years of probation, along with serving just under three
prison time -- beginning in May -- to complete his four-month sentence.
"Ghost has an album he's going to finish before he goes to jail," said
Jeremy Schneider, Killah's attorney, on Tuesday. The album will be Killah's
second solo effort, following 1996's Ironman.
Although Schneider told Addicted To Noise last month that the
27-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dennis Coles, "didn't do anything
illegal" during a 1995 altercation, Schneider said on Tuesday that the guilty
made sense for Killah. "He was forced with a situation where if he went to
trial and was convicted, he could have gotten a sentence of five to 15 years
in jail," Schneider said.
The charges date back two-and-a-half years to an incident outside New York's
Palladium nightclub. The tires of a car in which Killah had been riding were
slashed while the vehicle was in the care of parking attendants. Arguing
ensued between Killah, his cohorts and the attendants. The rapper pleaded
guilty to taking part in the fight as well as to trying to take money from an
attendant, Schneider said.
Although Killah's reduced jail-sentence does not begin until May, he will
return to court on Jan. 23 for a pre-trial conference related to a Dec. 10
arrest for alleged illegal possession of a .357-caliber Magnum handgun.
That incident, the latest legal hassle to haunt the nine-member, Staten
Island, N.Y.-based Wu-Tang Clan, occurred one week after Killah missed a court date
for the Palladium charges, claiming that he was ill with malaria. Killah's court
absence and later arrest angered Judge Bernard Fried, and prompted Fried to
revoke the rapper's bail in the Palladium case, keeping Killah in jail until the
case went to trial Monday.
Killah has yet to be indicted on the weapons-possession charge.
Schneider also said Tuesday that a discrepancy between Killah's and police
accounts of what occurred during the Dec. 10 arrest may reveal "potentially
serious police misconduct or police error." The district attorney in the
case originally contended that Killah sped away from the scene, while the
rapper maintained that he was taken to a police precinct and released.
Manhattan, N.Y., Assistant District Attorney Jill Aschkenasy later admitted in a
letter to the judge in the case that Killah's account was accurate, according
to Schneider. Schneider is now calling for an investigation by the district
attorney's office into the incident.
On Tuesday, Molly Connell, a public information officer with the district attorney's
office, said only that, "I can neither confirm nor deny that there is any
Killah also is one of seven members of the Wu-Tang Clan named by a Loud Records
marketing and promotions manager in a civil complaint. The Loud Records manager
claims that he suffered an alleged battering following the group's performance at the Chicago-area New World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Ill.
The civil suit is still pending and criminal charges have yet to be filed against any member of the rap act. [Tues., Jan. 6, 1998, 6 p.m. PST]