Eric B. reportedly won’t face any jail time in the wake of his recent arrest.
According to the New York Times, the Hip Hop legend appeared in a Hackensack, New Jersey courtroom on Friday (November 22) where he was sentenced to one year probation in a 17-year-old case.
The famed producer/DJ said outside the courthouse that Superior Court Judge James Guida was “firm but fair.”
“I’m glad it’s over,” he told reporters.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Ron McCormick argued for Eric B. to do some time in prison, though he agreed the original 364-day sentence the 54-year-old was facing in 2002 “probably is not appropriate.”
However, McCormick explained sentencing Eric B. to probation would send the wrong message. He thinks it could lead defendants to assume they could skip sentencing, lead a fruitful life and land a better deal years later.
“I don’t think that’s justice,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it‘s a deterrent.”
Guida attached a condition to the New York native’s terms. If he doesn’t comply with rules of his probation over the next nine months, he will spend the last three months locked up.
Eric B. pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding in 2002 for an incident that happened in Ridgefield Park on September 27, 2001. He was picked up on the 17-year-old warrant last month and spent two weeks in Bergen County Jail.
Guida read the original police report, filed in 2001, during court proceedings.
As explained in the report, Eric B. was stopped in northern New Jersey in January 2001 when police noticed his Range Rover didn’t have front license plates or an inspection sticker. When they pulled him over, he briefly got out of his car but eventually drove away, leading several officers on a chase. Along the way, he hit several cars including police vehicles.
[This article has been updated. The following was published on November 22, 2019 at 11:14 a.m. PST.]
Eric Barrier — a.k.a. Eric B. of the legendary duo Eric B. & Rakim — was arrested at a Bergen County, New Jersey courthouse last month as he attempted to clear a 17-year-old warrant. Consequently, he spent two weeks at the Bergen County Jail.
According to the New York Times, the seasoned Hip Hop vet could spend more time behind bars as a result.
In 2002, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding for an incident that happened in Ridgefield Park on September 27, 2001. He’d had a bench warrant ever since.
Unfortunately for Eric B., he didn’t figure that out until last month. His current lawyer Patrick Toscano said law enforcement officials notified him of the warrant as he crossed the Canadian border from Vermont.
Toscano blames the celebrated Hip Hop artist’s former attorney Paul Bergrin who allegedly gave him misleading information. Bergin told Eric B. at the time he’d made a deal with prosecutors for his client to enter a pretrial intervention program and assured him “there was no need to appear on the sentencing date.”
In a letter to Judge James J. Guida, Toscano made it clear Eric B. was a victim of poor legal counsel.
“It is evident that Mr. Bergrin’s counsel to Mr. Barrier was flawed, fraudulent, unethical and deceptive,” Toscano wrote.
Eric B. is expected in court on Friday (November 22) where Toscano will fight for his client to remain out of jail. The top count, eluding arrest, is a felony that carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years.
In 2011, Bergin was indicted on more than 30 counts, including witness tampering, murder, drug trafficking and racketeering. He was sentenced to life in prison.
As of Friday afternoon (November 22), Eric B. appears to be a free man. He recently shared an Instagram photo of himself with will.i.am.