A federal magistrate judge has denied Casanova’s attempt to get out of jail while he faces charges of racketeering and drug trafficking.
At a Thursday morning court hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Davison said that while the defense had presented a “formidable” argument for freeing Casanova on $2.5 million bail, Davison was concerned about the danger to the community if Casanova was released.
“When you go back to the history and characteristics of this defense…this is a defendant who has, over the last decade, managed to rack up three serious violent felony convictions,” Davison said, later adding he was concerned by Casanova’s alleged role as a gang leader. “It is quite reasonable to infer that people who cross (Casanova) get hurt.”
Last November, Casanova was one of 18 alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation gang, described by prosecutors as a subset of the Bloods. In court Thursday, prosecutors described Casanova as a high-ranking member of the gang who had the authority to order others to commit violence.
“He sits near the very top of a violent organization,” assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Felton argued Thursday morning, later adding, “He’s one of the top leaders and narcotic suppliers in a large scale operation that was carried out by more junior members of Gorilla Stone.”
Recently, Felton said, federal prosecutors started investigating a new incident that occurred at a strip club in Florida during a birthday celebration for Casanova, where a suspected rival Crip member was shot by someone in Gorilla Stone. Felton inferred that Casanova had ordered the shooting, which his attorney denied.
Casanova’s attorney proposed freeing him on a $2.5 million bond provided by 13 people who would put up money or property for the rapper. He would have agreed to be placed on house arrest and wear and ankle monitor.
At court Thursday, Casanova’s attorney, James Kousouros, said prosecutors had provided no evidence to back up the allegations against Casanova and that he expected him to be acquitted. He said photos of guns found on Casanova’s phones were fake weapons used to promote the song “Gripped Up.”
“We say the government is providing the court with photos of weapons that are promotional photographs,” Kousouros said. He also cited a Casanova interview with Monreality where Casanova talked about the downsides of gang life, stating, “the only payment you get is death or jail” as a gangster.
“(Casanova’s) appearances are very public, they’re photographed,” Kousouros said. “You never see him with a weapon.”
Felton countered that Casanova stated in an interview with Nick Cannon that he is “still ape,” a reference to being part of Gorilla Stone, adding that there was “overwhelming reliable evidence” Casanova was a drug supplier for the gang who had “moved up from muscle to a leadership role.”
Written by Nate Gartrell