NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he raped and strangled a woman in her Louisiana home and was in possession of several drugs.
The 51-year-old performer, who has been given the name Michael Tyler, is innocent of all charges, attorney Joel Pearce said after the arraignment in Ascension Parish Court in Gonzales, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Baton Rouge. .
The charges include first-degree rape, which carries an automatic life sentence.
Pearce said he is unable to obtain copies of both indictments, but they were read aloud in court.
The charges also include simple criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery by strangulation, simple robbery, possession of heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and Xanax, and possession of drug paraphernalia, he said.
“My client doesn’t even do drugs, so he has no idea what they were talking about,” Pearce said in a telephone interview during his 250-mile (402-kilometer) drive from Gonzales to Shreveport.
He said bond can be discussed at the Oct. 17 hearing. Prosecutors said they intend to present Tyler’s 2003 guilty plea to sexual battery and extortion as evidence of prior crimes, Pearce said.
Tyler and two guards videotaped themselves having sex with Tyler’s hairdresser. The prosecutor in that case, Sue Bernie, said in 2003 that the woman told investigators Tyler accused her of stealing $80,000 worth of her checks and told her he wouldn’t go to the police if she did something ” degrading”. The woman denied stealing any money, Bernie said.
A letter in court records before Tyler’s sentencing said he paid the woman $350,000.
He spent six years in prison for that conviction, which came the same year he was nominated for two Grammy awards. He also received a Grammy nomination in 2001.
Pearce said he does not know what the woman who is now accusing Tyler allegedly robbed, but the criminal damage charge accuses him of breaking the band of her Apple watch.
Pearce represented Tyler on rape and kidnapping charges dropped by prosecutors in northwest Louisiana in December 2020. Those charges, brought in 2017, kept Tyler in jail for nearly 18 months before he was released on $3 million bond.
“People are saying it’s the third time he’s been accused” of the rape, Pearce said, but Tyler pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in Baton Rouge. “And in Caddo Parish, after a grand jury indicted him, they exonerated him.”
Mystikal told the Associated Press in April 2021 that he used to be a “naughty lil rapper” but now he’s proud of the lyrics he can imagine rapping with God.