Cardi B pleads not guilty in strip-club fight case
Cardi B, the hip-hop star who’s embroiled in a legal saga stemming from a 2018 strip-club brawl, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a dozen charges outlined in a Queens County grand-jury indictment.
Cardi, 26, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, was arraigned in Queens County Criminal Court, along with two other defendants in the case, Tawana “RemyRojaLaPerla” Jackson-Morel and Jeffrey “AstonMartinChuck” Bush, according to a statement from the Queens District Attorney.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas released the trio on their own recognizance and ordered Jackson-Morel and Bush to return to court on Sept. 9. Cardi’s return date was not yet scheduled.
If convicted, the defendants face up to four years in prison.
In court, the judge gave Cardi the option of having all the charges read aloud, according to TMZ, but her attorney declined. She entered her plea by saying “Not guilty, sir, honor,” the Associated Press reported.
The 12-count indictment issued on Friday charged the “Press” rapper and members of her entourage with attempted assault, harassment, criminal solicitation, conspiracy and reckless endangerment following a pair of incidents at the Angels Gentlemen’s Club and Restaurant.
The “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” rapper’s legal woes stem from her alleged involvement in a strip-club melee with two sisters in August 2018. A fight reportedly broke out because the former reality star suspected that one of the bartenders was sleeping with her husband, Offset, a rapper in the group Migos, who was also at the club that night.
“The defendants in this case are accused of two premeditated attacks on two women working at a club in Queens last summer,” acting Queens Dist. Atty. John M. Ryan said in a press statement. “The victims allegedly had glass bottles hurled at them, alcoholic drinks thrown in their faces and one woman’s head was slammed into the bar. This kind of violence won’t be tolerated in our community. The defendants will be held accountable for their alleged actions.”
On Tuesday, prosecutors said that the three defendants used social media to coordinate the attacks and planned to record the assaults.
The Grammy winner was arrested and released in October after voluntarily turning herself over to New York authorities. She was charged with assault and reckless endangerment then, but, in April, Cardi rejected a plea deal that offered her reduced charges and no jail time.
At a court appearance in late May, prosecutors said they would present their case to a grand jury.
The musician’s lawyer has previously said that Cardi didn’t harm anyone.
Over the weekend, the off-the-cuff performer addressed her legal drama onstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, declaring “I ain’t going to jail” near the end of her sold-out concert Saturday night.
On Sunday, she went on to win a top prize at the BET Awards.
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