Wu-Tang Clan Rapper ODB's Trial On Threats Charges Delayed

Video tape expected to be used by both sides in the case is reported to be damaged.

LOS ANGELES -- Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard's court hearing on charges of

making terrorist threats against an L.A. nightclub was delayed Tuesday (Nov. 17) when it

was learned that a video expected to figure prominently in the case is damaged.

Seven witnesses for the prosecution were sent home from Beverly Hills Municipal Court

without taking the stand.

"This don't make no sense," the rapper, who wore a hooded blue Wu-Tang Clan tour

jacket, jeans and yellow boots, said as he waited in the courthouse hallway for his case

to be called.

ODB (born Russell Jones) had not yet arrived at the courtroom when Judge Judith Stein

first called his case shortly after 9 a.m. Kevin Barnes, the rapper's attorney, offered the

judge no excuse for ODB's absence, but told the judge his client, who is wanted for

failing to appear in court on shoplifting charges in Virginia, "had never been late to this

court." Per Barnes' request, Stein agreed to put the matter aside instead of issuing a

bench warrant.

Shortly thereafter, ODB appeared in the hallway of the court building. After stocking up

on candy from the vending machines, he took a seat on the hallway bench. Asked if he

was nervous, ODB insisted, "I'm not nervous, but sh--."

The rapper discussed his future recording plans at length but said, "My head's on this,

not that."

The notorious member of the revolutionary-rap group Wu-Tang Clan spent almost three

hours in the courthouse but less than five minutes before the bench as Stein agreed to

delay the hearing.

ODB is accused of threatening to kill security guards at the West Hollywood House of

Blues nightclub Sept. 17 after he was thrown out of the venue. He allegedly had caused

a disturbance in the club while attending a Des'ree concert that night.

At the request of Barnes and District Attorney Kevin Ross, Stein continued the pre-trial

hearing until Dec. 21 because a video of ODB taken at the police station on the night of

his arrest was reported to have been damaged. Both the defense and prosecution plan

to use the video as evidence in the case.

"This is directly relevant to this case," Barnes argued, adding that the video shows police

attempting to give ODB a Breathalyzer test. Ross said after the hearing that the

prosecution is trying to establish the rapper's sobriety on the night of his arrest, while the

defense wants to use the video to argue that ODB was under the influence of alcohol.

ODB has had two other run-ins with the law in California since the nightclub arrest. Most

recently, he was charged Nov. 5 after allegedly trying to scale the security wall at his

ex-girlfriend's workplace. According to police, the woman -- the mother of ODB's

1-year-old child -- claimed the rapper had threatened to kill her.

On Oct. 8, ODB was stopped and ticketed for driving without a license just hours after

appearing in court to clear his name of a similar charge. While in the courthouse for a

matter related to the terrorist-threat charges, ODB convinced another judge that he had

been mistaken for fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA and wrongly charged for driving

without a license. A bench warrant was issued under RZA's real name, Robert Fitzgerald

Diggs.

The case involving ODB's former girlfriend, to be filed Tuesday, is scheduled to be heard

Dec. 1 in Compton, Calif.; however, it may be tried along with the two other cases. The

misdemeanor traffic charge will be considered at the same time as the nightclub case

Dec. 21. Stein ordered ODB -- who already has posted $150,000 bail in the nightclub

case -- to post $2,500 bail for the traffic charge.

The prosecution will try to have the video, made during the arrest in the nightclub case,

enhanced before the next hearing to compensate for the audio and video defects, Ross

said. Both parties also have photographs that were taken on the night of the arrest. The

witnesses will be recalled as well, Ross added.

"It will be interesting to see what happens, because the folks from the House of Blues

were in fear of their safety and I think they're going to make really good witnesses," Ross

said.

A pre-plea report and supplemental police reports also will be assembled before the

Dec. 21 hearing. The pre-plea report will detail ODB's full criminal history for the judge's

consideration in determining, should Ross and Barnes agree to a plea bargain, if

probation would be appropriate.

As ODB was leaving the courtroom, Stein warned him to be on time for the next hearing.

"Mr. Jones, your bail will be revoked and you will be incarcerated if you're not here on

time next time," she said. ODB nodded and headed out the door. The rapper currently is

a fugitive of the law in Virginia after he failed several times to appear in court following

his July 4 arrest for allegedly stealing a pair of Nike sneakers.

ODB is one of nine members of the revolutionary-rap group Wu-Tang Clan, known for

such songs as "C.R.E.A.M." (RealAudio excerpt). He released his

first solo effort in 1995, and he plans to release a follow-up next year. ODB said Tuesday

that the album tentatively is called God Made Dirt and Dirt Don't Hurt.