Busta Rhymes was sued in New York State Supreme Court on Monday by a Bronx man who alleges he was roughed up by The Big Bang rapper and his posse last summer after spitting on Rhymes’ SUV. The plaintiff, Roberto LeBron, 20, claims he was repeatedly punched and kicked in the body and face by the 35-year-old Rhymes during the wee hours of Aug. 12 as the hip-hopster’s nine bodyguards stood by and watched.
LeBron was treated at a nearby medical center for a concussion, split lip and injury to his wrist and later released.
Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith, was taken into custody several days later, spent a night in jail and was arraigned on misdemeanor counts of assault and harassment before being released.
The Brooklyn-born emcee’s attorney, Scott Leemon, had little to say since he had yet see the suit, but noted that “nothing has been proven yet.”
At the time of the arrest, however, Leemon told E! Online his client should’ve only been given a desk appearance ticket and was being targeted by the NYPD because he declined to cooperate with detectives in a separate investigation into the unsolved 2006 shooting death of his bodyguard, 29-year-old Israel Ramirez.
The lawsuit compounds an ever-lengthening legal docket for the chart-topping rapper and sometime actor.
Aside from the Ramirez-related charges, the entertainer is facing charges of assaulting a 39-year-old man, reportedly Rhymes’ former driver, last Christmas in a beef over money.
Rhymes has also racked up a pair of driving infractions–the first in February for running a red light and driving with a suspended license; the second in May for misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and driving with excessively tinted windows.
Rhymes has pleaded innocent to all charges and has twice rejected plea offers from prosecutors that would have sent him to prison for one year for the two assaults cases.
Last month, a New York judge refused to grant prosecutors’ petition to consolidate the two assault cases. According to Leemon, the ruling was a victory for the artist because it denied the D.A. a chance to show a history of violence. As a result, Busta will now face four separate trials.
LeBron’s tough-talking Bronx-based lawyer, Mark Kressner, however, told E! Online that he hoped the civil suit will not only expose Rhymes, whom he characterized as “a punk kid who wants to be a badass,” but also establish a pattern of bad behavior on the part of the record companies and publicists who back him.
“I’m coming at him,” said the attorney. “I want to prove that every time he gets arrested, his record sales go up. The only way they make any money is by creating a character that’s got an attitude and children buy into it and buy records. And they make sure this persona is disrespectful and even harmful.”
LeBron’s suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, but Kressner added that he’ll seek punitive damages as well.