Prosecutors Near Settlement With ODB In Two Cases

Rapper undergoing undisclosed treatment at California hospital.

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors expect to settle two criminal cases against Ol' Dirty Bastard next week if a judge doesn't throw one of the cases out, a deputy district attorney said Friday (Sept. 10).

Santa Monica Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle is handling a case in which the rapper is accused of threatening to kill three security guards at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. Rundle said she and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney George Costello, who is prosecuting ODB for allegedly wearing a bulletproof vest, are ready to settle with ODB's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, on both cases. She would not disclose the details of the expected deal.

The two cases are scheduled for consideration next Friday before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Berry.

If Berry grants Shapiro's motion to suppress evidence in the bulletproof-vest case, "then the vest case is over," Costello said. "If the motion is denied, then we've just got to see where we're gonna go." Costello would not comment on a possible settlement.

If the bulletproof-vest case is thrown out, the terrorist-threat case would be returned to a Santa Monica court.

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old ODB (born Russell T. Jones) is undergoing undisclosed treatment in a Marina Del Rey, Calif., hospital. The Wu-Tang Clan member, whose second solo album, N***a Please, hits stores Tuesday, recently spent time in a drug-rehabilitation facility in New York after being arrested in July for alleged crack-cocaine possession — the second such arrest in five months.

Accompanied by a representative from the hospital, ODB appeared in Santa Monica Court on Friday morning for a hearing on the terrorist-threat charges. ODB is accused of threatening to kill the three nightclub security guards in September 1998 after being ejected from the club for disruptive behavior.

Appearing sleepy but healthy, he wore an orange button-down shirt and jeans. ODB said he feels good and has been treated well at the hospital. "It's fine — I love it there," he said.

Details of ODB's treatment were not revealed in court.

Shapiro and Rundle spoke to Superior Court Judge Richard Neudorf privately at his bench for several minutes. Neudorf agreed to send the case downtown, where Judge Berry will consider it along with the bulletproof-vest charge.

ODB is believed to be the first person arrested under a California law that forbids convicted violent felons from possessing, buying or wearing body armor. The law applies to him because he was convicted of assault in New York in 1993.

ODB has maintained his innocence in both cases.

"A terrorist is someone that bombs somebody's house, or hijacks planes and holds people hostage or bombs big buildings like the United Nations," ODB said earlier this year. "Me, I'm just a regular rap artist who loves women, who loves partying, who loves to f---, who loves people not to lie about him. That's basically it. I'm not no terrorist or nothing like that."

Two court cases against ODB have been dropped this year, including attempted-murder charges stemming from an alleged shootout with New York police in January. Another terrorist-threat charge alleging ODB threatened to kill a former girlfriend was dropped in April after several hearings. Prosecutors in both cases cited a lack of evidence.

ODB still faces charges in New York in two crack-possession cases. Most

recently, police in Queens, N.Y., said ODB had 20 bags of crack and an

envelope of marijuana in his pants pockets in July, and he was charged with possession with intent to distribute.

"Got Your Money" (RealAudio

excerpt) is the first single off N***a Please, which

offers a collection of raunchy rap tunes and tongue-in-cheek soul ballads.

ODB has described the new LP as "the real hip-hop." It follows up his 1995 solo debut, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, which featured the single "Brooklyn Zoo" (RealAudio excerpt).

ODB will participate in a SonicNet/Yahoo! online chat Wednesday, the day after the release of N***a Please. Fans can join in beginning at 9 p.m. EDT at www.sonicnet.com/channels or chat.yahoo.com.