Mystikal (a.k.a. Michael Tyler) appeared in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, courtroom yesterday to plead guilty to charges of sexual battery. The plea was part of a deal that kept the rapper, best-known for his 2000 hit "Shake Ya Ass," from having to go to trial for the more grave offense of aggravated rape, which in the case of a conviction carries a mandatory life sentence. He will appear in court again on September 25th to be sentenced for the sexual battery charge, which could carry a ten-year prison term.
The rapper's hairstylist accused him and two bodyguards -- Leland "Pokie" Ellis and Vercy "V" Carter -- of forcing her to perform sexual acts at Mystikal's apartment after they accused her of stealing checks and threatened to turn her in to police. Rape charges were filed against all four in July 2002, to which all three men plead not guilty, but a videotape of the incident was recovered. Prosecutors chose to bargain with the three men to avoid putting the victim on the stand and to prevent the tape from being viewed in court. Both Ellis and Carter will also be sentenced in September.
In addition to the sexual battery charges, all three men initially faced claims of extortion. As part of the deal, the those charges were dropped against Ellis and Carter, and Tyler entered a best interest plea, which brings a sentence while allowing the defendant to disagree with the prosecutor's description of events. Tyler received five years probation for the extortion charge.
A civil suit stemming from the incident was settled out of court.