San Diego rapper Tiny Doo has pleaded not guilty Thursday (Dec. 4) to gang conspiracy charges, including murder, simply because of his rap lyrics, reports Fox 5.
The rapper (real name: Brandon Duncan) was arrested in November, along with 14 other gang members, and charged in a gang conspiracy involving nine local shootings since April 2013.
Prosecutors have charged Tiny Doo, based on a state law that allows them to prosecute gang members if they benefit from crimes committed by other gang members. Although he’s not linked to the shootings, prosecutors argue that he benefited from the crimes through his music, pointing out that sales of his 2012 album No Safety was boosted via his connection to the gang and its reputation for violence.
“They’re charging Brandon Duncan with crimes that the District Attorney admits that he had no involvement in or even knowledge of. That is the definition of injustice,” defense attorney Brian Watkins told Fox 5 outside the court room.
“It’s really given a black eye to the legal system here in the DA’s office,” he added. “To charge someone with crimes while admitting he had no knowledge of those crimes. Based on his artistic expression, he made a rap album — a rap album that’s actually made in 2012, these shootings occurred in 2013 — so there’s absolutely no connection.”
Tiny Doo’s trial is set to January 23.