UPDATE (1/5): A victory for Pooh Shiesty in his ongoing legal woes: The rapper is no longer facing a felony charge in Miami-Dade County related to the May 2021 shooting of a security guard at the King of Diamonds strip club, Rolling Stone has learned. A spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney said his office closed the case with a “no-action” designation on Wednesday.
The decision to abandon the state case came a day after Shiesty, whose legal name is Lontrell Williams Jr., pleaded guilty to a single firearms conspiracy charge stemming from a separate incident — an alleged robbery at a Bay Harbor hotel in October 2020. In that deal, federal prosecutors agreed to drop three other counts, including one with a possible life sentence.
“In consultation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this overall approach is the most appropriate resolution,” Miami-Dade State Attorney spokesman Ed Griffith told Rolling Stone.
State officials had alleged that the King of Diamonds guard was shot in the ankle after Williams pulled a gun and fired because someone had knocked cash out of his pocket and bystanders were trying to collect it. Williams was arrested over the incident and charged with aggravated assault.
Williams’ defense lawyer, Bradford Cohen, declined to give a statement. One law enforcement source said there were inconsistencies with witness testimony in the King of Diamonds case.
Originally published 1/4/2022
Jailed rapper Pooh Shiesty pleaded guilty to a single firearms conspiracy charge Tuesday under a deal with federal prosecutors that means he’s no longer facing a possible life sentence for allegedly shooting a man in the buttocks at a Florida hotel.
His about-face and conviction on Count 1, conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of violent and drug-trafficking crimes, led prosecutors to ditch the other three counts in his updated indictment, including the most serious one alleging he fired a gun during the confrontation at the Landon Hotel in Bay Harbor Islands on Oct. 9, 2020.
Magistrate Judge Lauren Fleischer Louis accepted the new plea after cautioning that the recommended sentence of no more than 97 months outlined in the nonbinding deal was not guaranteed at Shiesty’s future sentencing hearing before Chief Judge K. Michael Moore.
“If Judge Moore gives you a sentence that is higher than what you were hoping for, that will not be grounds to withdraw your plea. Do you understand?” Judge Fleischer Louis said during the afternoon hearing in federal court in Miami.
“I understand,” Shiesty, who already has been in custody for seven months, replied.
The rapper, whose legal name is Lontrell Williams Jr., released a new jailhouse freestyle titled “Federal Contraband” last month, as he shared with fans that he hoped to be out of custody soon.
“Ima be back in a minute won’t be too long til I’m free,” he said in a message posted to his Instagram account Dec. 17.
While Williams’ admission of guilt does not guarantee he’ll receive prosecutors’ recommended sentence, it helps his standing in terms of how his points add up to determine the sentencing guidelines in his case. His guilty plea takes three points off of his total, which is substantial, a source tells Rolling Stone.
Williams’ decision to strike a deal followed after the alleged victim shot in the buttocks, identified as 28-year-old Brandon Cooper, was indicted in Florida on suspicion of taking part in an elaborate bank-fraud scheme, the Miami Herald reported.
“We’ve entered into plea negotiations because there have been developments in the case that I think changed the dynamics of the case,” Williams’ defense lawyer Bradford Cohen told Rolling Stone in October.
Williams, 22, has been behind bars since his June 9 arrest involving a separate incident, a shooting at a Miami strip club. He was indicted in the Landon Hotel case weeks later and ordered held without bail.
According to prosecutors, the Memphis rapper, whose Back in Blood collaboration with Lil Durk went platinum in May, allegedly drove a rented McLaren to the hotel the day of the alleged shooting to “purchase a pair of high-end athletic sneakers and marijuana.”
Video surveillance allegedly shows Williams pulling up to the hotel with another man described as his road manager riding shotgun and a third man following behind them in a black Mercedes Maybach.
After he accepted a bag of marijuana and examined a pair of sneakers, Williams allegedly pulled out a Draco subcompact weapon and ended up firing, hitting the alleged victim in the buttocks, investigators previously claimed.
As Williams drove off, a Louis Vuitton bag stuffed with $40,912 in cash fell out of the driver’s seat of the McLaren, authorities claimed. Investigators said they linked the cash to Williams by matching the full serial number on one of the recovered bills to a $100 bill flashed on Williams’ Instagram account days before the alleged robbery.
The date for Williams’ sentencing was not immediately set.