Rap superstar Cardi B on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges including two felonies filed in connection with her alleged involvement in a New York strip club brawl.
“Not guilty sir; honour,” the 26-year-old artist said before a packed courtroom in Queens, looking swank in a fitted, low-cut navy blue and baby pink double-breasted pant suit and razor-sharp straight blue-hued bob.
The brash rapper appeared calm throughout the proceedings, her hands clasped behind her back, showing her talon-esque hot pink nail extensions to the room.
The arraignment came days after a grand jury indicted Cardi B in connection to the incident, with court documents showing 14 counts including two felonies against the rap superstar.
On August 29, 2018, Cardi B was in the Angels Strip Club in Queens when her group 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 slept with her husband, the rapper Offset.
Initially facing only misdemeanor charges, the Bronx 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 misdemeanor.
The revamped charges include two felony counts of attempted assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the case docket.
The order of protection preventing Cardi B from returning to the scene of the incident or communicating with the alleged victims was extended for one year, a condition of her parole.
Upon leaving the courtroom the rap star smiled and waved, blowing a kiss to a throng of journalists and onlookers.
However, over the weekend she took on bolder airs, suddenly dropping an expletive and exclaiming: “I ain’t going to jail, I got a daughter!” while performing in Los Angeles, a frank reaction not out of character for the off-the-cuff star.
“We don’t believe that the indictment changes anything,” her lawyer Jeff Kern told journalists outside the courthouse. “We understood that it was a possibility.”
The rapper has also invited Drew 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 – to join her legal team.
“I know Cardi; I know Cardi on a personal level,” he said. “I know Cardi as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister. I know Cardi to be a decent and kind human being.”
“We have no doubt that when all is said and done, there will be a positive outcome in favour of Cardi.”
There are two co-defendants in the case alongside the rapper, both of whom also pleaded not guilty.
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.
After becoming the first female solo artist to win the Grammy award for Rap Album of the Year, over the weekend Cardi B topped this year’s Black Entertainment Television Awards, taking home prizes for Album of the Year and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.
Just after the arraignment the intensely scrutinized rap star announced on Twitter the Wednesday release of her music video for her latest hit “Press,” in which she voices exasperation with the media.