Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah, who turned himself in to New York authorities last week to begin a six-month sentence for attempted robbery, will step from
behind prison bars to answer a separate weapons charge later this month.
The rapper is expected back in court Feb. 23 for a hearing in a case in which he is
charged with criminal possession of a handgun and a bulletproof vest. That case was
adjourned in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday (Feb. 9) to allow the prosecution
additional preparation time, according to a court clerk.
The 27-year-old rapper (born Dennis Coles) was not at Tuesday's pretrial hearing, but is
expected in court when the trial resumes. His lawyer, Jeremy Schneider, said he intends
to question police about circumstances surrounding the 1997 incident in which
Ghostface was arrested after an associate was pulled over for a traffic violation.
A vehicle driven by Dupree Lane was stopped by police on Dec. 10, 1997, near 139th
Street and FDR Drive in Harlem, New York police spokesperson Lee Ann Tracy said.
"Officers exited their vehicle, and a second auto pulled up behind the marked police car,"
she said. "A suspect in the second vehicle [Ghostface Killah] was acting disorderly."
According to court documents, officer Marc Aliberti searched the second car and found a
.357 Magnum handgun, loaded with hollow-point bullets, "behind the glove
compartment." Hollow-point bullets, used by some law-enforcement organizations, are
designed to expand on impact.
Because the unlicensed weapon was found in the car, everyone in the vehicle --
including driver Hezeciah Hunter and passengers Ghostface Killah and Jason Hunt --
was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.
Ghostface was also charged with wearing a bulletproof vest during the commission of a
felony. There are discrepancies between authorities' original accounts of the arrest and
the rapper's, Schneider said.
Assistant District Attorney Jill Aschkenasy at one time maintained that the rapper fled the
scene, while Ghostface Killah said he was arrested, released and later taken back into
custody. Aschkenasy later confirmed Ghostface's account in a letter to the judge,
according to Schneider. No mention of either scenario is made in a court summary.
In court, Schneider said, "The prosecution has to present their witnesses to explain the
circumstances surrounding the initial stop, the apprehension, the search, the seizure and
"And we have an opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses to see if their telling is
truthful ... and, even if it is truthful, whether or not the information that they had was
sufficient to give them the right to stop somebody."
Schneider said he does not expect Ghostface Killah to take the stand in the case before
Judge Felice Shea.
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Although he was sentenced to six months at Rikers Island after pleading guilty to the 1995 crime,
he will likely be released after three for good behavior and time already served,
The release of Ghostface Killah's second album, Supreme Clientele, has been
pushed back two months to July.