19 September 2022

Rapper Mystikal pleads not guilty to rape and drug charges

19 September 2022

The Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of raping and choking a woman at his home in Louisiana and of possessing several drugs.

The 51-year-old performer, whose real name is Michael Tyler, is innocent of all charges, lawyer Joel Pearce said after the hearing in Ascension Parish court in Gonzales, about 15 miles from Baton Rouge.

The charges include first-degree rape, which carries an automatic life sentence.

Mr Pearce said he has not been able to get copies of the two indictments, but they were read aloud in court.

My client doesn’t even do drugs, so he has absolutely no idea what they were talking about

Charges also include simple criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery by strangulation, simple robbery, possession of heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and Xanax, and possession of drug paraphernalia, he said.

“My client doesn’t even do drugs, so he has absolutely no idea what they were talking about,” Mr Pearce said.

He added that bail may be discussed at a hearing on October 17. Prosecutors said they plan to bring up Tyler’s 2003 guilty plea to sexual battery and extortion as evidence of prior crimes, said Mr Pearce.

Tyler and two bodyguards had videotaped themselves engaging in sex acts with Tyler’s hairstylist.

The prosecutor in that case, Sue Bernie, said in 2003 that the woman told investigators that Tyler accused her of stealing 80,000 dollars of his cheques and told her he would not go to police if she did something “degrading”. The woman denied stealing any money, Ms Bernie said.

A letter in court records before Tyler’s sentencing said he paid the woman 350,000 dollars.

He served six years in prison for that conviction, which came the same year he was nominated for two Grammy awards. He also received a nomination in 2001.

Mr Pearce said he does not know what the woman who is now accusing Tyler was allegedly robbed of, but the criminal damage charge accuses him of breaking the band of her watch.

The lawyer also represented Tyler on rape and kidnapping charges that prosecutors in north-west Louisiana dropped in December 2020. Those charges, brought in 2017, had kept Tyler jailed for nearly 18 months before he was released on 3 million dollars bond.

“People keep saying it’s his third time to be charged” with rape, Mr Pearce said, but Tyler pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in Baton Rouge. “And in Caddo Parish, after a grand jury indicted him, they un-indicted him.”

Mystikal told the Associated Press in April 2021 that he used to be “a nasty lil’ rapper” but was now proud of lyrics he could imagine rapping to God.

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