Rapper Casanova has officially appealed his 15-year prison sentence, according to his lawyer, James Kousouros.
The appeal was filed on July 7, 2023, challenging the lengthy sentence handed down by Judge Philip M. Halpern on June 27, 2023.
Casanova, a prominent figure in the Hip-Hop community, was sentenced to 188 months (15 years) behind bars for his involvement in a comprehensive RICO case that surfaced in 2020.
The rapper and his gang, the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation, were implicated in a series of crimes, including drug trafficking, violent assaults, and the murder of a 15-year-old boy in Upstate New York.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams described Casanova as “not just a notorious recording artist” but “a high-profile leader of a vicious street gang and a magnet for gang violence.”
Williams added that Casanova’s stature was central to Gorilla Stone’s successful recruitment and nationwide expansion. Initially, the rapper was charged with racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder, intent to manufacture and distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
However, Casanova pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct and participate in the affairs of a criminal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity and one count of conspiracy to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana.
To reduce his sentence, Casanova renounced his membership in the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation and expressed his desire to dissociate from the gang.
This public repudiation led to an attack on him within the confines of Essex County Jail on June 14, where he suffered injuries necessitating stitches on his head and hands.
Kousouros argued that Casanova’s public repudiation of the gang threatened his life and pressed for a lighter sentence for his client. Despite these arguments, the judge sentenced the rapper to over 15 years.