Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lil' Wayne Arraigned, Sued

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Lil' Wayne's legal problems are multiplying.

While the New Orleans hip-hopster was being arraigned on drug charges in Atlanta Wednesday, he was also targeted in a lawsuit by a Miami jewelry company for allegedly failing to pay for his bling.

First the serious stuff.

The 25-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, appeared for about 20 minutes of a three-hour preliminary hearing, enough time to plead not guilty to three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. The rapper was arrested in August 2006 after police, tipped off by a hotel employee, found marijuana and over 100 Xanax and hydrocodone pills in Wayne's room.

He is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 20, at which time the judge is expected to rule on a series of motions filed by his lawyer, William Head, seeking to have the case dismissed.

One of those is a petition challenging the legality of the hotel search; another is a request to inspect the evidence, such as the seized pill bottles, and have them dusted for fingerprints.

"We asked to examine the evidence so we can prove it has no connection to him," Head told E! Online. "Let's see what the fingerprints are."

Asked why it took a year for his client to face the music, Head lashed out at Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

"You get more federal money by showing you have a huge crime problem and you just charge anybody who crossed the Fulton County system," the attorney said. "The first prosecutor who got it said, 'I'm not going to put that in front of a grand jury,' and she never did.

"Then later, [Howard's] office files an accusation which is just a piped-up accusation and mails a notice to the address that came off Lil' Wayne's driver's license...but nobody asks him for an updated address."

As it turned out, the case notice was sent to the rapper's address in New Orleans, which was wiped out in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Unaware of the charges, the rapper missed a couple of court hearings and an arrest warrant was issued, leading to his collar in Boise, Idaho, earlier this month.

Consequently, the entertainer now faces a charge of being a fugitive in Idaho—a count that will be separately adjudicated in a Boise courtroom.

If that wasn't bad enough, Wayne is also facing gun and pot charges in New York after he was arrested following a concert at Manhattan's Beacon Theater.

And then there's his new civil action. Jack Sutton Fine Jewelry filed suit in Florida's Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleging Lil' Wayne failed to make good on a $146,000 bill for a diamond ring and necklace purchased earlier this month.

"I've been doing business with him for at least 10 years," said owner Jack Sutton. "He's always been wonderful with paying me. He spent a lot of money with me. I thought we have a really good relationship. I don't know what happened."

The Who's Your Caddy? star agreed to pony up the dough in monthly installments and initially did, Sutton says, sending one check on Oct. 12 for $24,000 and another dated January 2008. But Sutton felt forced to take legal action once those payments stopped.

The rapper's civil attorney, Ron Sweeney, blamed the billing dispute on a "misunderstanding." Sweeney said that if Sutton's claim are true, the performer will pay up.


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