Florida Rapper Found Not Guilty After Prosecutors Attempt to Use Lyrics Against Him
A Florida hip-hop artist has beaten the rap and was found not guilty after his rap lyrics were used against him in a felony court case.
Noah Williams, a rapper who uses the moniker Spinabenz, was found not guilty on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, ABC News reported. Last week, the jury ruled in his favor after prosecutors based part of their evidence on lyrics from “My Glock.”
Prosecutors alleged that Spinabenz’s girlfriend, who purchased a gun legally, bought it for him. The prosecutors’ stated that in the song they referenced for the lyrics that Spinabenz claimed “my Glock cost $300” and in one line he raps about having a woman purchase a gun for him if she is “over 18.”
At the end of the trial, prosecutors pointed to the lyrics in closing arguments and stated the date the song was released. They claimed it took place several weeks after his girlfriend bought the weapon, according to WJXX.
They also argued that 18% of Spinabenz’s DNA was discovered on the gun as well. His attorneys stated that this did not prove that he was in possession of the firearm nor did he use it.
The rapper had previously been convicted on a felony weapons charge; convicted felons in Florida are not allowed to own firearms. Based on that fact, he was facing up to 30 years in prison due to adding a gang enhancement in the case, which based on what his attorneys said, doubled his potential sentence.
A jury found him not guilty on Thursday.
“He was, I would say, elated,” David Bigney, who represented Spinabenx told ABC News Friday about Williams’ reaction to the verdict.
There is a movement to prevent prosecutors from using lyrics cited in songs by rappers against them.
“In closing arguments, we discussed how artists, even though sometimes they may write lyrics based on reality, that other times they do not,” Bigney said.
“And the example that we gave was Bob Marley, who certainly sang about actual events, [but] also sang a song, “I Shot the Sheriff,” and suggested that just because he sang a song about shooting the sheriff doesn’t mean that he did.”