Busta Rhymes Hit With Assault Suit By Autograph Seeker

Melvin Smith claims that he was attacked by the rapper and a bodyguard.

As police continue to investigate last month's fatal shooting of one of Busta Rhymes' bodyguards on a video set in New York, the rapper received some more bad news Wednesday when a fan filed suit against him for assault.

Melvin Smith, 37, claims in the civil suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that Busta and his bodyguard, Troy Green, beat him with their "hands and fists for no rhyme or reason" after Smith approached the pair asking for an autograph, according to a Reuters report.

The alleged incident took place at a sandwich shop near New York's City Hall about six months ago, according to Smith's lawyer, who said the handyman has been unable to work due to neck and back injuries he sustained in the scuffle. According to Reuters, lawyer Bruce Regenstreich also said that Smith suffered a cut near his eye that required four stitches.

"My client was not aggressive in seeking the autograph," Regenstreich said. "Melvin went in to get an autograph and got a knuckle sandwich instead." Smith is seeking unspecified damages against Green and Rhymes (born Trevor Smith). A spokesperson for Rhymes had no comment on the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, police are still looking to talk to Rhymes about what he may have seen on the set of his video for the remix to his "Touch It" single, where 29-year-old bodyguard Israel Ramirez was gunned down on February 5 (see "Police Want To Question Busta Rhymes About Fatal Shooting At Video Set"). Earlier this week, a New York Police Department spokesperson said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and that no suspects have been named yet. The news came after the revelation by New York's Daily News on Friday that an audiotape of the altercation that led up to the shooting had surfaced (see "Recording Of Argument At Busta Rhymes Video Set Surfaces").

Rhymes' spokesperson would not comment on reports that the rapper had gone to the West Coast to finish work on the video. On Wednesday, the rapper's label released a teaser clip for the "Touch It (Remix)" video in which Rhymes and sidekick Spliff Star engage in a mock stepping battle with a group of pre-teen cheerleaders.