Rap star Casanova had a court hearing today (January 28th) to decide whether or not he should be released on bond. Unfortunately, Casanova lost his attempt to get out of the Westchester County Jail.
The evidence that the Feds presented was damning indeed – because Judge Paul E. Davidson just denied Casanova’s request for freedom.
Prosecutors successfully argued that Casanova, born Caswell Senior, was a top leader of the Gorilla Stone, who ordered his underlings to commit violence on his behalf.
“The only thing the passage of time from the three prior first degree convictions has established is that the defendant has moved up from the more junior role to a leadership role, where he has his underlings do the dirty work on his and the gang’s behalf,” U.S. Attorney David Felton successfully argued.
Judge Davidson agreed with the Feds, who claimed Casanova was too much of a danger to the community to be set free.
Casanova’s three previous convictions for robbery, an incident in which a junior member of Gorilla Stone choked a woman in a New York diner and broke her jaw, because she was taking pictures of the rapper as he was eating, and, a double shooting in Miami involving the rapper and another United Gorilla Stone member named Jarrett Crisler, ruined his chance as well.
Last week, AllHipHop.com broke the news that Crisler, aka “Jayecee,” shot a member of the Crips and another victim during a gang-related dispute between Casanova and the Crips, outside of a strip club in October of 2020.
His lawyer James Kousouros claimed Casanova had nothing to do with the shooting.
“Mr. Senior’s down there with his family, he’s celebrating his birthday. He’s taking photographs, he’s taking celebratory photographs. He’s not in any way, conducting himself in a violent manner,” Kousouros unsuccessfully argued.
“Now I think that this whole episode has to be videotaped. He’s not telling anybody to do anything. And while the text messages in the complaint do mention him, it’s very clear that he is not telling anybody to do anything. Interestingly, somebody…reaches for their hip, but that would be self-defense. It’s very clear that Caswell Senior is not armed, and he’s not down there, looking for trouble. And he’s not charged. Now if you looked at the government’s recitation here, if he’s the big boss and he’s directing violence well, he would have been charged. There is no evidence sufficient to charge him in that,” James Kousouros said.
While Casanova has yet to be charged in the incident, the Feds are still investigating his role in the altercation.
In early January, Casanova put together a $2.5 million bail package with 13 co-signors who vouched for the rapper with salaries of approximately $1,266,145.00.
Casanova’s friends also put up five properties to ensure he would appear at his trial, but the formidable bail package was not enough to get the rap star out of prison.
The Feds claim Casanova was a large scale supplier of drugs, and he used the gang to sell crack cocaine and marijuana, around New York. Casanova’s lawyer James Kousouros unsuccessfully argued that the evidence the Government presented was flimsy at best.
Kousouros claimed the rapper was never pictured with any guns in the evidence prosecutors have presented, and that he was never in possession of a weapon. According to the rapper’s lawyer, all of the weapons in Casanova’s videos were merely props.
“Aside from the innuendo that he is the big boss directing people to do things, the government has not come forward and put a gun in my client’s hand. The government has not come forward and given you any evidence of him, directing, anybody to commit any kind of violent acts,” James Kousouros passionately argued. “The government has not come forward and said ‘Judge, we know that he sold cocaine or heroin on a particular date. We searched his house, and found money.’ There is nothing except inferences from what other people have said, and photographs that he has posted to support these charges.”
However, Casanova’s own words came back to haunt him.
“In the defendant’s own words in a November of, 2019 radio interview with Nick Cannon, the defendant made clear that he is ‘Still Ape’, that is a member of Gorilla Stone,” Prosecutor David Felton told Judge Davidson. “And beyond the defendant’s public admission, what he says in private messages powerfully show his prominent role in the gang. In a September 2019 text message he bragged, ‘I’m under Dick Wolf, the Godfather of all Apes.’ Please be clear, he’s under the founder and leader of Gorilla Stone, his co-defendant Dwight Reid (Dick Wolf).”
Casanova has pleaded not guilty to charges that include racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy (crack cocaine and marijuana), possession of a firearm and furtherance of narcotics conspiracy, and aiding and abetting.
He faces 15 years to life imprisonment for his role in the RICO conspiracy.