A judge says she is troubled that rapper Ja Rule has posted thousands of dollars in bonds for two co-defendants in a gun possession case and she wants them to come up with their own bail packages. State Supreme Court Justice Micki Scherer expressed her concern Wednesday at the indictment arraignment of Ja Rule, Dennis Cherry and Mohamed Gamal on gun possession charges. All pleaded not guilty.
The judge said the Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, “has put himself in the position of perhaps controlling the outcome of the case. I think the potential for it is a big problem.”
Ja Rule’s bail is $150,000 bond or cash; Cherry’s bail is $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash, and Gamal’s bail is $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash. Gamal is Ja Rule’s driver and the owner of a limo service, and Cherry is Ja Rule’s road manager.
All of the bonds are secured by Ja Rule’s $3.5 million house in Saddle River, N.J., bail bondsman Ira Judelson said after their arraignments last July.
Ja Rule lawyer Stacey Richman said the co-defendants will come up with separate bail packages.
Ja Rule, Cherry and Gamal were stopped for speeding in Manhattan around 10:30 p.m. on July 22, 2007. Police said then that a computer check of their luxury car revealed it had no insurance and a suspended registration.
Gamal was driving the car but was not its owner and was unaware of any gun and should not have been arrested, said his lawyer, Eric Franz.
After police stopped the car, a 2004 Maybach, whose price runs in the $250,000 to $400,000 range, they “detected a strong odor of marijuana,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the court when the men were arraigned.
Richman noted at the arraignment that despite the claim that police detected the odor of marijuana, nobody was charged with possession of it.
Police also found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in the rear driver’s side door, she said. No one was charged with marijuana possession.
Ja Rule, 31, rose to fame in the mid-1990s after appearing on a hit song with Jay-Z and later going on to record platinum-selling solo albums.