The 27-year-old American rapper swanned into Queens Criminal Court in New York overnight for her assault case, wrapped in a grand black feathered coat, a massive hood and a wedding-dress worthy train made of, yep, more feathers.
She also wore uber expensive black patent Christian Louboutin stilettos and was accompanied by a healthy entourage of handlers.
The Bodak Yellow performer is accused of tossing a hookah (vaping instrument) and bottles of champagne at two bartender sisters in a Queens strip club in 2018 as well as plotting a beatdown with the aid of hired help – allegedly because she suspected one of the women was sleeping with her rapper husband, Offset.
Having previously pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges, including two felonies linked to the case, she stood before the judge with her hands complete with talon-esque mint green nail extensions clasped behind her back.
The hearing was a “control date” for both sides to appear and discuss scheduling and legal issues, namely the defence’s bid to obtain evidence they say is currently only available to the prosecution.
The artist’s lawyers said they had submitted a subpoena to Facebook, which owns Instagram, attempting to obtain direct messages from the image-sharing platform involving the complainants – but their request had been denied.
They did not go into detail on the content of the social media exchanges. Judge Joseph Zayas requested both parties meet and reach an agreement for the defence to access the Instagram messages.
He set a hearing for the two other defendants involved in the case for January 17 but excused Cardi B from attending.
Insisting on his client’s innocence, her lawyer Jeff Kern said “the case is not close to going to trial”.
Asked repeatedly by journalists whether the rapper – who just returned from concerts in Ghana and Nigeria – might settle the case out of court, both Mr Kern and her other lawyer Drew Findling skirted the issue.
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.
On August 29, 2018, Cardi B was in the Angels Strip Club in Queens when her entourage 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 was rumoured to have slept with Offset.
Initially facing only misdemeanour charges, the 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 misdemeanour.
The new, more serious charges filed in June include two felony counts of attempted assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the case docket.
At that time the rapper brought Mr 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 – onto her legal team.
“We continue to aggressively defend this case,” Mr Findling told journalists outside the court.
– with AFP