A close associate of Jay-Z pleaded guilty yesterday (April 24) to disorderly conduct for pepper-spraying R&B crooner R. Kelly during the
duo's The Best of Both Worlds Tour in 2004.
Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith, vice president of Def Jam Records and friend of rapper Jay-Z, stood trial in a Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday regarding the incident, which took place at New York's Madison Square Garden on Oct. 30, 2004.
During the show, R. Kelly claimed to have seen two men with guns in the audience and left the stage fearing for his life, the lawsuit states.
R. Kelly agreed to resume his performance after police were called, but on his way back to the stage he and members of his entourage were
assaulted with pepper spray wielded by an associate of Jay-Z identified as Smith, the lawsuit charges.
In return for his guilty plea and the successful completion of four days of community service and two days of anger-management counseling, Smith
will be exonerated of all charges.
The charges stem from a lawsuit filed by Kelly, who is set to stand trial for several counts of child pornography and statutory rape later this year.
Kelly accused Def Jam CEO Jay-Z and affiliates of a myriad of offenses, including physical assault via pepper spray, breach of contract and deliberate sabotage by Jay-Z's alleged lighting director.
In 2004, documents stated that Kelly would be suing Jay-Z, Smith and the tour's promotion company Atlanta Worldwide Touring Company for $75 million.
Later reports state that Kelly heightened the lawsuit to $91 million, claiming that Smith was "acting within scope and course of his employment by Jay-Z."
While Kelly insists the incident was purposely driven by Jay-Z in an effort to stifle the tour, Jay-Z claims that Kelly's suit is merely a stunt to take the focus off his upcoming teen-sex trial.
According to Kelly's reps, the singer is close to a $16 million settlement with Jay-Z and Smith.