Rap artist, The Game denied new sexual assault trial
Judge refuses new trial for rap artist, The Game; repeatedly missed court appearances CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge in Chicago refused Friday to grant rap artist, The Game a new trial after he repeatedly
Judge refuses new trial for rap artist, The Game; repeatedly missed court appearances
CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge in Chicago refused Friday to grant rap artist, The Game a new trial after he repeatedly failed to show up to face a female game show contestant’s sexual battery allegations.
The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, was the star of the VH1 television series She’s Got Game, a reality show created to help the platinum-selling artist land a new girlfriend.
And he has a history of not showing up to court.
Priscilla Rainey was one of the contestants on the show in 2015 and claimed in court that Taylor sexually assaulted her in a sports bar in Markham, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
According to the lawsuit, “Taylor sexually battered Rainey that night, including by reaching his hand inside her dress to rub her bare vagina and buttocks in front of a crowded room of people.”
A jury ruled in Rainey’s favor and awarded her $7.1 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
Taylor demanded a new trial, claiming the award was “monstrously excessive.”
In a 36-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman denied the rapper’s motion for a new trial and wrote: “The unauthorized touching of a woman’s vagina and other intimate areas is a reprehensible act, particularly in front of a crowd of onlookers.
“And although no further justification is necessary, the reprehensibility of Taylor’s conduct following the battery further justifies the punitive damages award.”
After the assault, Taylor told Rainey, who tried to confront him on his tour bus, to “Get the fuck off this bus before you get your ass strangled,” and “I’ll fucking choke your ass up.”
Taylor’s shenanigans began soon after Rainey filed suit against him.
Before the jury verdict, and during status hearings in October and November in 2015, Rainey’s lawyer reported that all his efforts to serve Taylor were unsuccessful. One of five process servers attempted to serve the rapper 41 times at his home with no luck.
The judge entered a default judgment and then vacated the decision. A new trial was scheduled for November 2016, which Taylor managed to reschedule out of concerns for his safety after 70 people were shot and killed in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend.
“Unless your client was going to be staying in North Lawndale or East Garfield Park or Englewood, I don’t think he was going to have any problem with violence in the Chicago area. Not many people are knocked off in a Town Car from O’Hare to the Four Seasons. So, you know, when I read that, it just struck me as a huge joke, and the only thing you accomplish by doing that is hurting your own credibility and your client’s credibility with the court. So, I’d encourage you to keep that stuff at a minimum, if not eliminate it entirely,” the judge stated in court.
Despite the judge’s warning, Taylor continued to delay the trial by requesting a transfer to other states and a continuance.
He decided not to show up to the November 14 trial because basketball star Derrick Rose did not appear on the first day of his trial to face sexual assault claims.
Taylor’s attorney Andrew Williams informed the court: “Taylor did not believe it necessary to appear for the first day of trial because professional basketball star Derrick Rose, as a defendant in his own civil sexual assault case in the Central District of California, did not appear for the first day of his trial.”
The rapper continued to dodge court with an excuse of “emergency dental surgery,” which his doctor described as “basically more or less a root canal procedure, two of them.”
Rainey’s lawyers presented evidence from Taylor’s Snapchat account, which shows him “smoking (something) in a dark room with flashing pink lights at 2:44 a.m. Pacific time on the morning of Monday, Nov. 14.”
The judge noted that Taylor had no intention of appearing for trial and denied his motion for yet another continuance, stating: “From what it looks like, [Taylor] was out partying … And the fact that he was out partying on a Sunday night and early Monday morning, that’s very odd for somebody with a trial in Chicago at 9:30 in the morning.
“From all of this, from everything I’ve just said by far the most likely conclusion and perhaps the only reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Taylor’s current absence is more of the same, that it’s voluntary, and that he had no intention of appearing at trial.”
At the trial the next morning, Williams presented the court with documentation of Taylor’s intention of showing up to face the allegations, including copies of airline and hotel reservations, which, logistically, made no sense.
“None of this makes sense,” the judge stated. “It doesn’t even address the flight issue. But even if the flight issue was addressed, we have everything else, which is: Did he really need to be in L.A. for this dental surgery? If it was such a serious, serious dental emergency, why was he out partying all night Sunday night and Monday morning?”
The judge also noted Taylor’s attempt to convince the court he had secured a hotel room for the trial, describing it as a “really, really transparent ruse.”
“There’s two men; two women; one hotel room at the Kimpton that was booked. Again, this demonstrates what I have been suspecting, which is they did not intend to come out, because if they had intended to come out with two men and two women, with first class flights costing $1300 a seat, they wouldn’t have skimped by shoving everybody into one hotel room,” Feinerman said.
Four days later the jury returned a decision of $7 million in damages in favor of Rainey.
Taylor sought a new trial, claiming the jury’s verdict was excessive, despite Rainey’s testimony that she suffered deep depression, anxiety, and weight loss stemming from the sexual assault and the rapper’s violent response when she confronted him on his tour bus.
Her depression also got in the way of launching a day spa with her former business partner who testified that the assault changed her personality.
“She was like super depressed. Like, that’s not her. That’s not Priscilla. I mean, when you talk about someone that’s been very confident and then putting her … in that situation, she … was devastated. She was crying. She wouldn’t eat. Child done lost weight since I seen her last. I didn’t recognize her. I think the most probably traumatizing part is when she started talking about it, it would always evolve back to that … he’s saying he didn’t do it.”
In concluding his ruling, Feinerman wrote, “It would be natural to harbor some residual doubt that somebody in Taylor’s position, with his abundant resources, would voluntarily absent himself from a trial with so much at stake in terms of fortune and reputation – and that doubt, in turn, might lead to the question whether Taylor actually intended to attend the trial and in fact was stymied by his dental issue. Taylor’s conduct during the entire course of this litigation puts to rest those doubts. And even if doubt remained after that, it would be eliminated by Taylor’s consistent history of defaults and failures to appear in court, and even for trial, in several other cases.”
Taylor has had several default judgments against him after refusing to show up to court after punching an off-duty cop during an argument on a basketball court, backing out of a concert at the last minute and refusing to pay a former nanny.
Feinerman noted that the court’s prior ruling in favor of Rainey was “correct.”
“Failing to appear in court, whether for a trial or hearing, whether in a civil or criminal proceeding, is just something Taylor does.” Feinerman wrote.
“In retrospect, what Taylor did here was neither an aberration nor a surprise. It was, rather, par for the course.”