Rapper Bobby Shmurda sentenced to 7 years in conspiracy case

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Rapper Bobby Shmurda sentenced to 7 years in prison
Diana Williams has the details.

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Rapper Bobby Shmurda pleaded guilty Wednesday and has been sentenced to serve seven years behind bars.

Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquielle Pollard, pleaded to conspiracy to possess weapons and possession of a weapon charges.

He will serve seven years in prison and another five years probation after his term. He could have faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted at trial.

Shmurda, a rapper once on the rise thanks to a viral music video that popularized the "Shmoney dance," was sentenced after claiming he was railroaded into taking a guilty plea on charges he conspired with a violent drug gang.

"I want to withdraw my plea," a defiant Shmurda said during his sentencing in a Manhattan courtroom. "I was forced by my attorney to take the plea. I was forced."

New York state court Justice Abraham Clott denied the request and imposed the seven-year term that was agreed to as part of a plea deal that spared Shmurda from going to trial on multiple counts.

He has been behind bars since his December 2014 arrest, when he was alleged to be the "driving force" behind a street crew responsible for a string of Brooklyn shootings.

He was arrested in a conspiracy case involving 15 others.

The 22-year-old Shmurda is best known for "Hot Boy," a gritty hit song with rhymes about gunplay. He and Chad "Rowdy Rebel" Marshall - another aspiring hip-hop artist who also pleaded guilty in the same case - gained notoriety with their performance in the "Shmoney dance" video, which has nearly 15 million YouTube views.

Authorities arrested Shmurda after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall, only days after he performed "Hot Boy" for a national television audience on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Investigators found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was riding, authorities said.

An indictment charged Shmurda and the other defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing. Shootings by the gang left one rival dead, injured an innocent bystander sitting on a folding chair outside a Brooklyn home and caused pandemonium outside a nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida, authorities said.

The court papers alleged that Pollard once fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barbershop in Brooklyn. They also said he was present last year during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired.

In a jailhouse interview last year with The New York Times, Shmurda criticized his label, Epic Records, for not helping him pay his $2 million bail. Epic hasn't commented.

He also claimed in another interview with the entertainment website Complex after his guilty plea in September that his case was a sham.

"We had detectives lying, saying they seen us with guns in our hands, but when everything came back there was no DNA, no fingerprints, no nothing. ... We're black kids, these are white people with badges," he said.

Shmurda's lawyer has said he could get enough credit for time served and good behavior "to be home in approximately 3 years and resume his remarkable career."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)