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.