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Grand jury to hear Flavor Flav’s NY driving case

Flavor Flav arrives to the Nassau County Court on Friday for an appearance in his unlicensed driving case.
Photo Credit: Mike Balsamo

Suburban New York prosecutors said Friday they plan to ask a grand jury to indict rapper Flavor Flav on unlicensed driving charges stemming from his arrest when he was allegedly caught speeding on the way to his mother’s funeral.

The details were revealed Friday morning when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, whose real name is William Drayton, appeared at the Nassau County Court. Flav was arrested last January and charged with felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and unlawful possession of marijuana after he was pulled over along the Meadowbrook State Parkway on Long Island. At the time, he was on his way to his mother’s funeral. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to four years in prison, if convicted of the top charge.

During the court appearance Friday, Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma told a district court judge they had offered Flav a plea deal that would require him to plead guilty to a felony offense and serve time in jail. His defense lawyer, Indji Bessim, said he couldn’t take a felony plea because it would make him “a security risk” when he travels internationally. “Do you know Flavor Flav,” she asked the judge, as she described his signature clock necklace. “We can’t take a felony and jail, or jail, or just a felony.”

Palma told the judge the district attorney’s office was pursuing a felony conviction because Flav has a prior criminal history. A spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice confirmed the case will soon be presented to a grand jury. It was not immediately clear when that may happen.

The spokesman, Paul Leonard, declined to comment on the plea offer. Bessim and Palma also declined to comment as they left the courthouse. Flav said he was headed from court to enjoy the sun at nearby Jones Beach.