Music Video Used As Evidence In Armed Robbery Conviction
The rap game got real for one emcee, when his own music video was used against him in court to tie him to a number of violent robberies.
Aspiring New York rapper BillBoard Biggs has been convicted of armed robbery after his own music video, in which he uses Kanye West’s beat from “The Joy,” as evidence against him and four accomplices. In the video, Biggs and company re-enact a string of robberies they reportedly committed over the past two years, including one robbery in 2011 that left one man dead.
The most recent convictions in the case came last Tuesday, March 19th, when Dwayne Barrett, 35, and Jermaine Dore, 26, were convicted and now face a maximum life sentence. A third man named Taijay Todd, who appears as a gunman in the video, plead guilty earlier in February.
The prosecution argued that the video establishes a connection between the accused men and illustrates that defendants had access to weapons. Furthermore, the prosecution also said that the Mercedes-Benz getaway car which Barrett drives in the video is the same vehicle witnesses saw at the scene of many of the actual robberies.
Now, XXL has pulled out some of the reports most important quotes from the prosecuting and defending attorneys in the case.
On the Music Video:
“As a lawyer I’m appalled As a student of art history, I’m moved. These men have made art even when it’s against their penal interest,” he said. “Hip-hop artists frequently lament that the state’s main intervention for young black men is to lock them up. It’s sad that no other intervention happened to support these young men’s obvious talent.” – Paul Butler, Author of Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice
The Defense’s Statement:
“[The video is] an artistic work, professionally made for entertainment purposes. Mr. Todd is doing nothing more than playing a fictional role in a fictional presentation.” – Steven Brill, Defense Attorney to Taijay Todd
“I don’t think that [the video] added anything to their case except to put an image of these defendants in the jury’s head committing robberies.” – Alice L. Fontier, Defense Attorney to Jermaine Dore
The Prosecution’s Statement:
“In our view, this is all very powerful evidence of several of the elements that we need to show at the trial.” – Jessica A. Masella, Prosecuting Attorney
The currently, which was initially uploaded to YouTube, has since been set to private.
[via New York Times]