Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel’s Trial Now Set For October 5
Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court today as Judge James Burke set their trial to begin Oct. 5, 2015. The two Brooklyn MCs and Epic Records artists will be tried along with four other defendants on charges stemming from a 101-count indictment handed down by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City.
This is the first time Bobby and Rowdy have appeared in court since April 22, after which Shmurda's attorney Kenneth Montgomery called for reason from the prosecution's side. Today he appeared to have gotten his wish; prosecutors recommended seven years for Rowdy, aka Chad Marshall, and eight years behind bars for Shmurda, real name Ackquille Pollard. After the hearing, Montgomery seemed upbeat.
"I'm surprised by the recommendation," he said, "Especially as they've been dragging these kids up here like they're Public Enemy No. 1."
"I thought it was reasonable," Rowdy Rebel's attorney Javier Solano told XXL after the hearing. "Usually they're heavy-handed." Solano also expressed his confidence in his client's case based on the evidence provided by the prosecution so far, though he noted that the key will lie in which defendants accept plea deals and which witnesses are called during trial. Solano rejected the prosecution's recommendation outright, telling the court that his client "has no interest."
At this point it's been six months—188 days—since Bobby Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel and 14 members of GS9 were arrested and indicted on more than 60 assorted counts including conspiracy, murder, assault, drug and weapons charges related to a nearly two-year NYPD investigation. The group was then slapped with a superseding indictment in January bringing the total number of counts included in the case to more than 100. The remaining defendants, who will either be tried individually or in yet-to-be-decided groups, will have their next court date Sept. 16. Some were offered plea deals, others offered recommendations from the prosecution, though nothing was finalized as of press time.
After today's hearing, the defendants finally have a concrete date to look towards for a resolution to their case, one way or the other. But the trial won't be quick; Montgomery said in court that the trial could last "up to two months," while Judge Burke said he doesn't see the trial wrapping up before Thanksgiving and that it could stretch on until Martin Luther King Day, which falls on January 18, 2016.
If the trial runs until January it will have been 13 months since Shmurda and Rowdy were arrested early in the morning of December 17, 2014 outside of Quad Studios in Manhattan, a lifetime for any rapper but particularly for a young MC. If Shmurda is found innocent of all charges, which he has contended repeatedly, he will have spent more than a year in jail, or twice the amount of time he spent as a free man soaking up the success of his breakout single "Hot Nigga." That song began picking up steam last June via Vine—leading to a record deal with Epic that July—and found its way to Billboard's Hot 100 in mid-August, eventually peaking at No. 6 by Thanksgiving. Within a month, Shmurda was behind bars.
Since pleading not guilty in January, Shmurda has spoken occasionally to the press, most recently to XXL in our 2015 XXL Freshman issue, in which he asked fans to pray for him as his trial looms. But his time behind bars hasn't been without incident; he was reportedly involved in a jail fight—a situation he deemed merely an "altercation" in his interview with XXL—in May, while today the prosecution told Judge Burke that Shmurda had been re-arrested on June 23 for receiving a "sharpened metal instrument" on June 21. The latter charge will be heard in Bronx Criminal Court, separate from the Manhattan Supreme Court's indictment.