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Rapper Coolio, unwilling to pay to defend ‘bogus’ charge, may represent himself in domestic violence case


Bethany Barnes

Coolio, also known as Artis Ivey Jr., makes a court appearance on a domestic violence charge. The rapper was offered a plea deal by prosecutors but refused the it, saying the charge was “bogus.” He was given 30 days to decide if he would like to represent himself or hire an attorney in the case.

Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 12:21 p.m.

Coolio Appears in Court

Laurie Diefenbach of the Clark County Public Defender's Office and rapper Coolio listen to Judge Melanie Tobiasson during Coolio's court appearance on a domestic violence charge. Diefenbach showed the rapper the deal offered by the prosecution as a friend of the court. Coolio refused the offer and was given 30 days to decide if he would like to represent himself in the case. Launch slideshow »

Coolio’s attempts at being frugal are stalling his domestic violence court case.

The 49-year-old rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr., appeared Tuesday in Las Vegas Township Justice Court, wearing blue jeans and a light blue dress shirt for a status check to confirm that he’d hired a lawyer.

He hadn’t, which seemed to baffle Judge Melanie Tobiasson, who remarked that she assumed Coolio could afford to hire one.

Coolio, best known for his 1995 chart-topping and Grammy Award-winning hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” is charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in an incident in spring 2013. He is accused of punching a girlfriend of three years in the face during an argument April 1 at their Spring Valley home.

According to an arrest report, the girlfriend said the argument began when Coolio brought another woman to the house. It escalated into pushing, shoving and scratching, then with Coolio striking the woman in the lip with a closed fist. The woman’s middle right finger also was bleeding, and she had a visible tire mark on her right calf, police said.

Police were called when Coolio dropped the woman off at an urgent care clinic.

Coolio acknowledged the argument and physical altercation took place, but he denied he struck the woman. He told police he was the victim.

The prosecution attempted to offer the rapper a deal in which he would plead guilty, but Coolio didn’t want to take it.

Tobiasson gave Coolio 30 days to think about whether he really wanted to represent himself.

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