Busta Rhymes Faces Trial on Assault Charges
"The court's offer is off the table," Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Tanya Kennedy said Monday as she withdrew a previous plea offer of probation, community service and a series of lectures to troubled youth after Rhymes's recent arrest for driving with a suspended license, the Associated Press reports.
Attorneys for Rhymes declined comment outside the courtroom. The rapper's lawyer, Robert Kalina, earlier said that his client had been prepared to accept the deal.
Rhymes also rejected the prosecution's offer of a dual one-year jail term (to run concurrently) on two counts of assault and a $500 fine for the suspended license charge. Instead, he will face trial, which the judge tentatively scheduled to start May 8.
Rhymes (real name: Trevor Smith), 34, stands accused of beating his former driver, Edward Hatchett, 39, on Dec. 26 "with a closed fist about the head and neck" and kicking him in the ribs and torso. The dispute reportedly was over back pay.
In the other case, Rhymes is charged with assaulting a fan who allegedly spat on the rapper's car following an Aug. 12 concert at the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randall's Island.
In February, Rhymes found himself briefly behind bars after police stopped him for running a red light and discovered he was driving with a suspended license.
Authorities also have tried to question Rhymes as a potential witness in the February 2006 shooting death of his bodyguard, though police say he has so far refused to cooperate with their investigation.