The entrance to Manhattan Criminal Court in New York looked more like a red carpet at a hip-hop awards show Wednesday morning (November 7) when Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule, Lil’ Wayne and Remy Ma all made court appearances within hours of one another.
The rappers were all appearing before judges on a variety of charges, from misdemeanor assault to drug possession and attempted murder, and, for the most part, they made brief appearances before their respective judges that lasted just a few minutes. Still, the drama surrounding their arrivals turned some heads.
“It’s a coincidence,” Remy Ma told New York’s Daily News. Wearing a skintight Moschino outfit to her hearing, the rapper and her hip-hop cohorts set camera phones clicking as they arrived to court in a variety of luxury SUVs, the paper reported.
Busta Rhymes (born Trevor Smith) was first up, standing in front of a judge for just a few minutes for what was to be the beginning of his trial on a number of charges, including two misdemeanor assaults, drunk driving and driving with a suspended license. According to Rhymes’ lawyer, Scott Leemon, the appearance was adjourned until January 23 when the judge said he needed more time to review a request made by the defense. Leemon said he could not discuss the contents of the sealed letter he submitted to Judge Larry Stephen. The paper said he arrived for court in a Cadillac Escalade and smiled broadly to fans as he made his way into the building with a Bluetooth phone device in one ear. On his way out, Rhymes autographed a court reporter’s portrait of him.
Next up was Remy Ma (born Remy Smith), who was appearing in front of a judge following her arrest and arraignment in July on attempted-murder charges in relation to a shooting outside a New York club. Remy is accused of shooting her close friend, Makeda Barnes-Joseph, twice in the stomach following a violent altercation that was reportedly about money missing from the rapper’s purse.
Remy’s lawyer, Ivan Fisher, said the three-minute appearance was brief because the judge in the case had not yet received a prosecutor’s filings and was unable to rule on several motions. “The prosecutor was hoping to get back DNA evidence from some blood found in Remy Smith’s car, but it hasn’t come back yet,” Fisher said. A follow-up court date has been set for December 5, at which point the judge is expected to announce a decision on the prosecutor’s motions and perhaps set a trial date. Fisher said the coincidental hip-hop legal summit occurred because Wednesdays are typically the days the criminal court judges schedule these types of appearances.
Depending on what kind of evidence comes back from the DNA test, Fisher said he might have to ask for more time to conduct his own DNA screens, especially if the tests come back positive for Remy’s blood.
The Daily News described Remy’s outfit as red-carpet-worthy, consisting of a “microscopic” gray wool skirt, blue tights and matching suede stilettos, as well as 3-inch heart-shaped gold earrings and a Dolce & Gabbana patent leather purse that read “PINUPS.”
Also in court Wednesday afternoon with their mutual attorney, Stacey Richman, were Lil Wayne (born Dwayne Carter) and Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins). Both men were arrested in separate incidents on the same night in July following a headlining performance by Wayne in New York. Both were arrested on felony gun-possession charges, which Richman cast doubt on at the time of their arrests.
“Lil’ Wayne was in the bus in his boxer shorts with a number of other people,” she told MTV News at the time of his arrest. “Unless his boxer shorts had a pocket for this gun, I don’t understand how he had it on him.” Richman said the legally registered gun did not belong to the rapper. She also said at the time that the .40-caliber Taurus pistol recovered from inside a car Rule was riding in belonged to someone else.
The men arrived separately to court and both waved at fans as they walked up the steps, with Ja wearing all black leather and blowing kisses to admirers, Richman said. A judge set a February 25 court date for both men, though Richman said it was likely that grand jury presentations in each case would take place in mid-December, which would not require an appearance from each rapper.
“All of us lawyers know each other, and I ran into one of my colleagues Leemon while parking my car, and I was like, ‘You have your guy in court today? I have my guys in court today!’ ” Richman said of the scheduling serendipity. “We all picked the date independently, but it was a funny alignment of the stars.”
Richman said the mob scene outside the court was “ridiculous,” with more than two dozen photographers, camera crews and reporters blocking the entrance to the courthouse, along with dozens of shouting fans waving their cameras and trying to get pictures with the MCs. “There were guys tripping and falling over the pavement to take pictures, and I couldn’t even get through them to get Ja RuleÃ‚Â and Lil’Ã‚Â Wayne in,” she said.