NEW YORK Jay-Z pleaded not guilty Tuesday (Feb. 22) to charges he stabbed record executive Lance "Un" Rivera in December.
The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, stood with his hands by his side and wore a blank expression when he appeared before State Supreme Court Judge Arline Goldberg. Dressed in a beige suede jacket and black carpenter pants, he calmly walked out of court afterward, signing several autographs in the process.
Neither Carter nor his lawyer, Murray Richman, would comment. Richman said he could not talk about the hearing because he has filed motions related to the case with the court. For weeks, the lawyer has claimed to possess a videotape that he said proves Jay-Z is innocent. Richman said last week that he would file a motion to present the tape as evidence during a trial.
The tape allegedly shows the rapper standing away from the dispute as it took place Dec. 1 at the Kit Kat Club in Manhattan. During the brawl, Rivera was stabbed in the back and chest. He was hospitalized overnight and released the morning of Dec. 2.
Jay-Z was indicted Jan. 31 on one felony count each of first-degree attempted assault and second-degree assault; he could face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted. He is due back in court March 29.
Newsweek and the New York Daily News reported that Jay-Z suspected Rivera, 33, of pirating copies of his album Vol. 3 ... Life and Times of S. Carter in the weeks prior to its Dec. 28 release. Investigators and Rivera, the head of Untertainment Records, have refused to comment on the incident.
Jay-Z was arrested Dec. 2 and posted $50,000 bail. Goldberg did not set any additional bail Tuesday.
Vol. 3 ... Life and Times of S. Carter, which features the spare but heavy single "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)" (RealAudio excerpt), debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart the first week of January. Its predecessor, Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life, spent several months in the top 10 after its September 1998 release. That quadruple-platinum album helped establish Jay-Z as a hip-hop star.
Vol. 3 has yet to match the earlier album's momentum. After selling more than 470,000 copies in its first week, it quickly slipped out of the top 10 and is currently at #21.