Lawyer: Arrest warrant could jeopardize MTV rapper’s career
BALTIMORE - On MTV, he’s known as “Chopper” — a young up-and-coming rapper mentored by Sean “Diddy” Combs.
But to a Baltimore County judge, Kevin Barnes, 22, is just another man facing time in connection with a crime.
Judge Patrick Stringer on Wednesday issued a bench warrant for Barnes’ arrest after he didn’t appear in court on 2001 charges that he committed a robbery with a BB gun when he was 16. The judge set a $50,000 bail in the case.
Barnes’ attorney, Paul Gardner, told the judge Barnes couldn’t appear because he is being held at the Gwinnett County Detention Center in Georgia after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.
“He hasn’t been hiding,” Gardner argued to the judge. “He’s been on TV in front of 30 million people. ... He’s been on MTV. He’s been with Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs. He’s been enjoying his career.”
Gwinnett County police last week arrested Barnes on charges of aggravated assault, simple battery and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Gardner told the judge that holding Barnes in jail could jeopardize his future as a musician.
“I’m astounded by the judge’s decision,” said Gardner, who asked for the case to be postponed. “This judge is putting in danger a million-dollar deal over a BB gun when he was 16. If he’s in jail, he can’t record. Then there’s no record deal.”
Barnes was arrested in Atlanta in August when a police officer, during a traffic stop, informed him of the old Baltimore County warrant.
“I was like, what? I said, What are you talking about, warrant? I said, don’t do this to me, man. I don’t have a warrant out on me,” Barnes told The Examiner this summer.
Barnes was staying at his mother’s Maryland home on Sept. 29, 2001, when he allegedly pedaled up to a couple on a mountain bike near Eastpoint Mall, flashed a gun and yanked $90 in cash from the man’s pocket, according to court records.
Police arrested Barnes at the scene and he made it to an early court appearance on the charges, but didn’t hear again from the court and thought the case was dropped, his attorney said.
“He has a history of showing up, and he maintains his innocence,” Gardner said.
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