HOUSTON – Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth appeared in a Harris County courthouse Friday morning for a preliminary hearing on assault charges.
The philanthropist, whose real name is Frazier Thompson, is accused of attacking another rapper, Z-Ro, outside a downtown Houston restaurant last August.
Z-Ro said Trae “sucker punched” him and, while he was on the ground, several other men who were with Trae allegedly began to beat him and steal his jewelry.
The incident gained national headlines as footage of it was released by TMZ.
After charges were filed in late December, Trae turned himself in and walked free after posting a $100 bond.
Misdemeanor Trial Bureau Chief Nathan Beedle spoke first to reporters after the hearing, explaining that Trae faces up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Beedle also said they are still in the evidence gathering stages, and two more people are also facing charges.
“There are also two co-defendants. Those cases will be handled - one in the felony division and two in my division. We will move forward once we have all the evidence in a coherent way and that’s completed,” Beedle said.
Trae, who had community advocate Kathy Griffin Grinan by his side, did not speak outside the courtroom, but his attorney, Cheryl Irvin, had plenty to say.
“Everybody knows Trae. He has been a very pivotal part of our community. He has been supporting so many causes here, and we have to respect and appreciate that, and we are grateful for what he’s done. He’s not asking for any special treatment. The only thing he needs is a good lawyer and he’s got that,” Irvin said, referring to herself.
Irvin went on to point out the light charges filed in the case, drilling deeper into why the case was being handled in the manner it is.
“It’s a Class B misdemeanor, which is the lowest offense that you have in this building. Most Class B misdemeanors are resolved by time served, pre-trial intervention - which is another form of probation or deferred adjudication, or a fine,” Irvin said. “So, you have to really understand that, in my opinion, this is a minor offense. This seems more to me like a Class C misdemeanor, which would put us over into the municipal court.”
Irvin suggested that a man, Charles Adams, has been targeting Trae.
“Apparently, he’s been clamoring for months for someone to investigate Mr. Frazier. I assume the higher ups got tired of hearing it and finally started the investigation,” she said.
Irvin then took it a little further, even suggesting that Z-Ro, whose real name is Joseph McVey, is trying to use this case to distract from other troubles he may have gotten himself into.
“There’s been some sayings by Mr. McVey that he did not initiate this, did not want these allegations, but I don’t think that’s quite correct,” she said. “Mr. McVey has spoken to the police on more than one occasion, he’s gone down actually to the Travis location, which is where the HPD Department is, and he’s spoken to them. He’s voluntarily gone down to do so. The question is, why would he do this?”
Irvin questioned Z-Ro’s motive for heightening the case because, in her words, he “has no serious bodily injury, didn’t go to the hospital and has no medical records.”
“I think I’ve discovered the reason for the motive,” she told the media. “Mr. McVey has two pending cases in the 263rd (court) for felony possession of a weapon and evading arrest. Those are serious allegations. Anyone who has no business carrying a weapon and who has a weapon, and who flees from police, those persons - we know in this stage and time in the community - are dangers to the community.”
Irvin then took a stab at McVey’s criminal background and said both men should be treated equally.
“Mr. Frazier is not asking for any special treatment, we don’t think Mr. McVey should get any special treatment too,” Irvin said. “Mr. McVey has been arrested over 11 times in his lifetime that we can find, maybe more.”
When asked if there were any bond conditions for Trae, Irvin’s answer was succinct.
“Just continue to be a good guy,” she said.
Trae’s next court date is March 9.