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Cardi B in court over strip club brawl allegations

Wednesday December 11 2019

Rapper Cardi B arrives for her court hearing at Queens Criminal Court on December 10, 2019 in New York City. PHOTO | AFP

Rapper Cardi B arrives for her court hearing at Queens Criminal Court on December 10, 2019 in New York City. PHOTO | AFP 

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Rap superstar Cardi B appeared in court Tuesday over her alleged involvement in a New York strip club brawl, as her lawyers called for access to social media evidence currently available to prosecutors.

The 27-year-old Grammy winner known for hits including "I Like it" strode into the Queens courtroom wearing black patent Christian Louboutin stilettos, a black feathered train trailing behind her as she sported an enormous matching hat.

Having previously pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges including two felonies linked to the case, she stood before the judge with her hands complete with talon-esque mint green nail extensions clasped behind her back.

'CONTROL DATE'

The hearing was a "control date" for both sides to appear and discuss scheduling and legal issues, namely the defence's bid to obtain evidence they say is currently only available to the prosecution.

The artist's lawyers said they had submitted a subpoena to Facebook, which owns Instagram, attempting to obtain direct messages from the image-sharing platform involving the complainants -- but their request had been denied.

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They did not go into detail on the content of the social media exchanges.

Judge Joseph Zayas requested both parties meet and reach an agreement for the defence to access the Instagram messages.

He set a hearing for the two other defendants involved in the case for January 17, but excused Cardi B from attending.

Insisting on his client's innocence, her lawyer Jeff Kern said "the case is not close to going to trial."

Asked repeatedly by journalists whether the rapper -- just returned from concerts in Ghana and Nigeria -- might settle the case out of court, both Kern and her other lawyer Drew Findling skirted the issue.

Born Belcalis Almanzar to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B's meteoric rise began during her days as a stripper, when she carved out a social media personality on platforms including Instagram.

PHYSICAL INJURY

On August 29, 2018, Cardi B was in the Angels Strip Club in Queens when her entourage reportedly lobbed bottles, chairs and a hookah pipe, which police said bruised a female employee's legs.

Cardi B allegedly ordered an attack on two sisters working at the club because one of them was rumoured to have slept with her husband, the rapper Offset.

Initially facing only misdemeanour charges, the rapper in April rejected a plea deal from the Queens district attorney's office.

That offer would have given the Grammy winner a conditional discharge if she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanour.

The new, more serious charges filed in June include two felony counts of attempted assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the case docket.

At that time the rapper brought Findling -- the so-called "#BillionDollarLawyer" who has made a name for himself representing hip-hop stars in Atlanta, Georgia, the de-facto capital of rap -- onto her legal team.

"We continue to aggressively defend this case," Findling told journalists outside the court.

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