After serving roughly eight years of a ten year sentence for his role in the infamous Club New York shooting on December 27, 1999, Shyne looks to be finally on the verge of release. The attorney for the former Bad Boy Records artist spoke to HipHopDX earlier today to clarify the details of his client’s pending parole, as well as provide some insight into Shyne Po’s post-prison plans.
“We’re hoping for April,” said Shyne’s legal counsel, Oscar Michelen, of when he is anticipating his client’s release from the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, New York. “[But] they don’t normally let you know [the exact release date] until right before it happens.”
Mr. Michelen went on to clarify that, “A parole hearing is scheduled for June. And if they don’t release him prior to that date, then he gets his parole hearing. But they can advance that depending on the situation at the jail at that particular time. And we’re under the belief that it might very well be advanced [to April].”
Shyne’s stellar personal conduct while incarcerated should contribute to his likely parole this spring.
“He’s been an exemplirary inmate,” Michelen told DX of the now 30-year-old Shyne (who legally changed his name in 2006 from Jamal Barrow to Moses Michael Leviy upon converting to Judaism). “He’s had no problems, been very positive. As a matter of fact, myself and another person were scheduled to go up [on] the 26th of February [to see him]. There’s a dinner in honor of African-American History Month, and so Moses [is] participating in that. And he’s also coordinating, getting some speakers to talk about how things have affected the criminal justice system in the last few years, [and] what we think the affect of the new presidency will be on issues affecting minorities. So he’s always been involved in many positive things at the jail and has never had a problem at all whatsoever. So, he’d be the perfect candidate for [parole]. The only knock against him was that he was convicted of a crime that’s considered a violent crime.”
Shyne was charged and subsequently convicted in March 2001 of four charges—including first degree assault—for allegedly firing multiple shots into the crowded Club New York (and striking three people) after a fellow patron named Michael “Scar” Allen approached Sean “Diddy” Combs, Diddy’s then girlfriend actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, Shyne and their additional entourage and taunted the Bad Boy CEO by throwing money at him.
Diddy was acquitted of all criminal charges for his alleged role in the melee that night. But a subsequent civil lawsuit was filed against both the Bad Boy founder and his then artist by Natania Reuben, who was shot in the face during the incident and is now seeking a $130 million dollar settlement [click to read].
“The matter is still pending in court and we’re awaiting a trial date,” revealed Mr. Michelen, who also represents Shyne in this civil case in addition to providing the rapper’s criminal defense. “Both Mr. Combs and Shyne are being sued; they’re [both] defendants. I’d rather not comment on Mr. Combs’ aspect of it. I can comment on my client. He’s got his own lawyer. But [Shyne] is still a defendant in the lawsuit. There are going to be motions to dismiss. And I guess a judge will ultimately determine whether it goes to trial or not.”
Mr. Michelen did not wish to reveal when asked by DX whether or not Shyne had been deposed in the civil suit yet. Shyne’s testimony was reported to have taken place last year following Diddy’s deposition in March of ’08—marking the first time Shyne would have gone on record (he did not testify during his criminal proceedings in 2001) about the events that took place at Club New York and whether he was or was not acting in defense or under the order of his then label boss, Diddy (Shyne’s then trial attorney claimed that a person in Allen’s entourage shot first) when he fired into the club. Shyne will likely remain on parole for nearly two years following his release, until the maximum expiration date of his sentence on March 12, 2011. Once the aforementioned civil proceeding against him is adjudicated he should be free of any legal entanglements for the first time in more than a decade.
And according to his attorney, the Belize-born/Brooklyn-raised unacknowledged son of Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow [click to read] who went on to gold success as a rapper (first noted for his uncanny vocal similarities to The Notorious B.I.G.) is eager to resume his life free of the criminal justice system.
“I [can] only speak as his lawyer and his friend,” began Mr. Michelen, “but I know he’s anxious to get back into the recording industry. He’s got a lot to say. And people are anxious to hear it.”
“He’s a very spiritual person in general, very committed [to his faith],” he continued. “And of course he wants to see his family. He wants to be able to make decisions for himself for the first time in years. He’s a bright man. He’s still got a lot of things to say. And I think he’s going to try to make the most positive impact out of this very negative experience that he possibly can. And if anybody can do it, he can. He’s a tremendous person. He really is so much more than just a musical artist. And I think he’s gonna be a force.”