Jury convicts rapper Remy Ma of assault

Faces up to 25 years in prison
March 27, 2008 4:11:40 PM PDT
A Manhattan jury has convicted Grammy-nominated rapper Remy Ma of assault. Remy Ma was led out of a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, weeping and in handcuffs.

The defense had conceded that the entertainer fired a shot toward a friend she suspected of stealing $3,000, but said it was an accident.

The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Remy Smith, faces up to 25 years in prison following her conviction in state Supreme Court for assault, weapon possession and attempted coercion.

She quietly wiped away tears as the verdict was read, then wailed loudly and sobbed openly after she was taken out of the courtroom. Many of her supporters also cried.

A few supporters of Makeda Barnes Joseph, the woman who was shot, cheered and also wept when they heard the verdict. Some chanted "bye, bye" in an almost taunting sing-song as she left the courtroom.

Justice Rena Uviller, denying a request by defense lawyer Ivan Fisher, ordered her jailed without bail while awaiting her April 23 sentencing.

Fisher said the defendant had not expected a conviction and had not prepared her 8-year-old son for her imprisonment.

Remy Ma was nominated for a Grammy as part of the Terror Squad for the 2004 hit "Lean Back." She also has appeared on recordings with Busta Rhymes and Eminem.

The rapper was acquitted of witness tampering and gang assault, charges related to a Bronx nightclub attack on the boyfriend of a witness who ultimately testified against her. A man who tried to help the boyfriend also was beaten.

Joseph was shot after a party at a nightclub in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on July 14, 2007.

Assistant District Attorney Michael McIntosh said the defendant "took an illegal .45-caliber automatic and loaded it with hollow-point bullets," then used both hands to cock the weapon as she got into Joseph's car. "She took every step you had to take to shoot somebody," said the prosecutor.

The rapper demanded that Jospeh dump the contents of her purse; Joseph denied she had taken the rapper's money and refused. Fisher said the gun went off accidentally as the women struggled over the bag.

Joseph, who was shot in the abdomen, testified that she underwent three surgeries during a three-week hospital stay.

Fisher said after the verdict: "Remy's taking this very, very hard. She didn't anticipate this."

The lawyer said he plans to appeal. He said that one of his best appellate issues will be the judge's allowing evidence about the Bronx nightclub attack - despite the acquittal on those charges.

"The jury should never have heard of the beating of those two guys," he said.