HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York judge has released hip-hop icon Flavor Flav without bail in his speeding case.
State police said the rapper, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., was speeding and driving without a license, a felony, en route to his mother’s funeral on Jan. 9.
He was pulled over on the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Hempstead for allegedly driving 79 mph in a 55 mph zone in his black Hyundai. Police said he also had a small amount of marijuana.
The 54-year-old rapper pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
His attorney, Indji Bessim, told Nassau County District Court Judge Norman St. George that over the past several days she and her client have worked to clear up the 16 outstanding traffic matters that sparked the unlicensed driving charge.
Drayton had to remove his trademark clock from around his neck to pass through the metal detector. After court, he told journalists that “God is good.”
He told reporters later that he hoped the charges would eventually be dismissed.
“I’m hoping they would have a heart and dismiss it all because of the circumstances,” he said. “Because if it wasn’t for me driving to my mother’s funeral and being late getting to my mother’s funeral, I wouldn’t have been behind the wheel in the first place to get the charge.”
He criticized the unidentified state trooper who made the arrest for being unconcerned about his plight, but then praised other troopers, whom he said helped him eventually get to his mother’s funeral. Anna Drayton died Dec. 31.
Flavor Flav now lives in Las Vegas, but grew up in Freeport, Long Island.
He was a founder of the rap group Public Enemy in the 1980s, and later returned to prominence as a reality television star.
He is due back in court on Friday.
The entertainer’s New York case is being watched closely by a prosecutor in Las Vegas. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond pending trial April 28 in Nevada state court on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment with a weapon. Those charges could get him up to 12 years in prison.
He is accused of threatening his longtime girlfriend’s then-17-year-old son with a butcher knife during a family argument. Terms of his release from jail included a requirement to stay out of trouble.
Drayton’s lawyer in Las Vegas, Kristina Wildeveld, said she didn’t think the New York case should affect his Nevada case.
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