Despite a plea from his mentor and fellow hip-hop artist Jay-Z, rapper Beanie Sigel was ordered held without bond yesterday (July 15) in Philadelphia, pending trial on a federal weapons charge. The rapper, whose real name is Dwight Grant, neither testified nor spoke during the brief hearing in U.S. District Court. His mother sobbed and wailed as he was led off in handcuffs.
Jay-Z briefly took the stand to ask that Sigel be allowed to keep his freedom and continue touring this summer. The rapper was due continue on the Roc the Mic tour with Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Fabolous, Sean Paul and others. The tour, which kicked of late last month, stops in Moline, Ill., tonight.
Sigel was arrested July 9 at the close of a state court hearing on an assault case and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charge comes from an April 20 arrest in Philadelphia, when police said Sigel attempted to ditch a loaded semiautomatic handgun during a foot chase through the South Philadelphia streets where he grew up, after abandoning his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The assault case stems from a January argument outside a Chinese restaurant. A 53-year-old man testified that the 5-foot-9, 260-pound rapper had punched him in both eyes, breaking his left eye socket. The judge in that case dropped a felony charge but set an August trial on two misdemeanor assault charges.
Also yesterday, Sigel had a preliminary hearing on a separate attempted murder charge. Police say on July 1 Sigel fired five or six shots at 26-year-old Terrance Speller, striking him twice and nearly killing him, outside a West Philadelphia strip club. Speller remains hospitalized under police protection, said Philadelphia Police Lt. Michael Chitwood, who waited backstage to arrest Sigel on the attempted-murder charge during a July 3 tour stop in Camden, N.J.
“Here’s a kid who starts getting arrested when he’s 14 years old. And what he’s doing now, at 29, he’s straddling that line,” Chitwood said. “He has a God-given talent. But he’s refusing to cross that line and leave the thug element behind.”
Sigel’s criminal lawyer, Fortunato Perri Jr., has said his client is “prepared to defend himself against all allegations,” and has said Sigel denied any role in the shooting.
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