Cardi B’s legal battle isn’t over yet. Her potential jail time, possibility of more plea deals and what she can expect to face in her next court appearance on May 31 were all discussed by three criminal defense attorneys based in New York — Russ Kofman, Esq., Julie Rendelman and Paul Petrus — who EXCLUSIVELY spoke with HollywoodLife. On April 19, the Grammy-winning rapper pulled up to the Queens Criminal Court in a fabulous Christian Siriano outfit to refuse an offer to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count in relation to the alleged attack on two female bartenders, Jade and her sister Baddie G, at a Queens strip club in Aug. 2018.
Cardi, 26, allegedly believed one of the bartenders slept with her husband, Offset, who was performing with Migos at the Angels Strip Club. Cardi was accused of ordering her entourage to attack the two bartenders, and the rapper turned herself into the New York Police Department on Oct. 1, 2018. The plea deal offered on Friday would’ve reportedly guaranteed no jail time and a conditional discharge for Cardi.
HL: Can you explain what happened today in court?
Kofman: “Today, Cardi B appeared in Queens Criminal Court and was offered what is referred to as a re-pleader deal. That stated that she would have to plead guilty to a crime, then meet certain conditions like perform community service or attend a program and upon successful completion of those conditions, the criminal charges would be dismissed and then she would be left with a non-criminal disposition, i.e. no record. But, if she would not successfully perform those condition, then she would be left with a misdemeanor conviction and sentenced by the Judge. Although she rejected the plea deal today, the same deal could be offered on the next court date or the deal can get better for her next time. The terms of a potential plea will likely continue to be negotiated by her attorney before she appears in court next time. I would be attempting to get her a deal where she would not have a criminal record or have to admit to any criminal conduct.”
Rendelman: “Cardi B, as you know, was charged with several misdemeanors, including Assault in the Third Degree and Reckless Endangerment. If an individual is convicted of either crime, they face up to one year incarceration although the judge is not required to give them jail time.”
Petrus: “She rejected the plea offer. Pleas must be accepted in court, on the record, and in public to be good under law. Not accepting the plea is tantamount to rejecting it at least for the time being.”
HL: What happens on her next court date which is set for May 31?
Kofman: “There could be an amended plea offered to her or the case can just be adjourned again. It is common for misdemeanor cases to take up to a year or longer to resolve sometimes and they can be adjourned for ‘trial’ many times without actually going to trial on that date. In between these adjournments, the attorneys usually negotiate potential deals and exchange discovery.”
Rendelman: “On the next court date, it is possible that the case could enter the trial phase. However, it’s not uncommon for there to be delays, based on scheduling conflicts, need for discovery etc.”
Petrus: “If the case is set for trial and the People are ready for trial, then the case should proceed to a trial courtroom for a jury to be picked.”
HL: What kind of trouble could she be in?
Kofman: “As a plea is already being offered to her, she likely will not be going to jail. But, seeing as this is a media case, if she does at some point decide to go to trial and losses, then she would have a misdemeanor conviction and can be sentenced to up to a year in jail or up to three years probation.”
Rendelman: “She could face up to a year in jail if convicted. However, if she has no prior criminal record, or a minimal criminal record, jail time is extremely unlikely.”
Petrus: “The maximum penalty is one year in jail or up to three years on probation.”
HL: Could she face jail time? If so, potentially how much jail time?
Kofman: “If convicted of a misdemeanor, a person can be sentenced to up to one year of jail or up to three years of probation. In practice, you do not usually see people go to jail for these charges unless they have a bad past criminal record.”
HL: Although Cardi rejected the plea today, what might it have included?
Rendelman: “The agreement would include an order of protection on behalf of the victims. In New York, we call that a ‘repleader’ disposition. While the conditions the prosecutor would require are not clear from recent reports, such conditions often require that the individual stay out of trouble for a period of time and possibly do community service and/or anger management. If they fulfill those requirements, the case is dismissed and sealed and walks away with no criminal record. Cardi B rejected that offer. It is possible that the prosecutor will make a better offer in the future. It is also possible that this is the best offer Cardi B will get.”