Casanova’s lawyer is fighting back against Federal prosecutors, who claim the rapper is a flight risk and a danger to the community, in their response to his motion for bond.
Casanova is one of 18 United Gorilla Stone Nation members, who are charged with a litany of offenses, from drug dealing to murder.
Casanova, born Caswell Senior, has been accused of racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy (crack cocaine and marijuana) and possession of a firearm and furtherance of narcotics conspiracy, and aiding and abetting.
In early January, Cas offered up a $2,500,000 bond secured by five properties, as well as 13 employed suretors. He agreed to abide by the strictest of pretrial conditions.
If Casanova is granted bond, the rapper agreed to home detention, electronic monitoring, and geographic restriction of his travel. He has also surrendered his passport.
Prosecutors are seeking to keep Casanova locked up, alleging he is too dangerous to be released from the Westchester County jail, where he is currently being housed until his trial.
The Feds argued Casanova used his since-deleted Instagram account to “shamelessly promote a violent street gang.” They also submitted photos of guns from his IG and pointed to his song “Gripped Up,” to prove he was a menace to society.
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But Casanova’s lawyer James Kousouros is hitting back on behalf of his embattled client, claiming prosecutors are targeting him simply over his persona as a rap artist.
“Mr. Senior’s persona as a rap artist is not his personal persona…after seeking to debunk our claim that Mr. Senior is being prosecuted based on his career as a rap artist, the Government submitted a post of a weapon with the caption “Gripped Up.” “Gripped Up” is a rap song that was recorded by Mr. Senior days prior to the posting,” Kousouros argued.
“This is not a gang related post. It was a promotional post for the song. There is no evidence that this is a real weapon, Mr. Senior is not depicted in the photograph and again, it is a reference to a recently recorded rap and not to his membership in any gang or his actual possession of a weapon,” James Kousouros argued on behalf of Casanova.
In their opposition brief, the Feds cited the statements of a co-defendant named Walter “Shells” Luster, who claimed Casanova once accidentally fired a gun during an illicit poker game and he was also known to be strapped at all times.
Shells was caught making the statement thanks to a bug prosecutors installed at the Auburn Correctional Facility, to eavesdrop on Gorilla Stone leader Dwight Reid AKA “Dick Wolf” and his conversations with other gang members.
However, Casanova’s lawyer says Luster’s statements should not be held against the rapper, and that prosecutors have not presented enough evidence to prove that Casanova ever committed the acts in question. Kousouros also maintained there is nothing illegal about his friendship with Dick Wolf.
“Mr. Senior’s relationship with Mr. Reid was not, as the Government asserts, evidence of any criminal relationship or conspiracy and other than simply stating that it was, the Government has provided no support for this sweeping allegation,” Casanova’s lawyer said.
Last week, AllHipHop broke the news that prosecutors had arrested Jarrett “Jayecee” Crisler, a Florida-based Gorilla Stone gun trafficker.
The Feds insist Jayecee allegedly shot a Crip and another person on behalf of Casanova in front of a strip club in Miami after a dispute broke out because the rapper was flashing gang signs.
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Casanova allegedly threatened the unnamed Crip who questioned him by saying: “u wanna die tonight[?]”
The beef escalated into a double shooting when Jayecee shot the Crip in the stomach, and wounded another victim. Both people recovered from their wounds, but prosecutors submitted text messages Jayecee sent, alleging the incident was done to protect Casanova.
Kousouros denied Casanova had anything to do with the shooting and noted that the rap star was never charged with a crime.
“In fact, Mr. Senior did not instigate or promote this shooting. As indicated in the Complaint, he was taking photographs. He was unarmed and was not charged in this Complaint,” James Kousoros said.
Casanova has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges leveled against him. A hearing is slated for January 28th.