Big Punisher, Fat Joe Assault And Robbery Charges Dismissed

Rappers win dismissal of charges they beat man and robbed him of gold chain during New York parade.

Charges of assault and robbery against rappers Fat Joe and Big Punisher were dismissed in a Bronx, N.Y., courtroom Friday. The charges stemmed from allegations that the two hefty rappers beat a man and robbed him of a gold chain.

The two rappers, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, were alleged to have struck a man with a baseball bat and stolen his gold chain at a Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York on July 14, according to Gloria Cullen, a spokeswoman with the Bronx district attorney's office.

"The cases were dismissed Oct. 16," Cullen said. The victim refused to testify. Philip Dussek, the defendants' attorney, declined to comment on the dismissed charges but said he would hold a press conference to discuss those charges in early November, after Fat Joe returns to New York.

Big Punisher (born Christopher Rios), 26, and Fat Joe (born Joe Cartagena), 28, were arrested Sept. 8 for the alleged incident, which prosecutors claimed took place at the corner of Willis and 132nd Street on the afternoon that the rappers made an appearance on a float in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Fat Joe was arrested after an autograph-signing session at an HMV music store on West 34th Street in the Bronx. According to Roberto Goodin, the store's urban-music supervisor, the rapper was informed during the signing that police were going to arrest him as soon as he left the store. The police allowed him to finish the signing session and took him into custody once he left the building.

About two hours later, Big Punisher turned himself in to officers at the Bronx's 40th District police station, according to police spokesman Charles Larken. Both rappers were released on their own recognizance after being charged with second-degree robbery and assault.

Representatives for Loud Records, Big Punisher's label, and Atlantic Records, Fat Joe's label, had no comment on the matter.

Big Punisher's album Capital Punishment was released April 28 and hit #5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in its first week of release, spurred on by the success of "I'm Not A Player" (RealAudio excerpt) and its remix, "Still Not a Player."

Fat Joe's third album, Don Cartagena, debuted at #8. It features appearances by Big Punisher and Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs.