Bobby Shmurda was officially sentenced to seven years in prison in Manhattan Supreme Court this morning (Oct. 19). The sentence comes five weeks after accepting a deal to plead guilty to 4th-degree conspiracy to criminally possess a weapon and 2nd-degree criminal weapons possession, which concurrently carry a seven-year sentence. Shmurda, born Ackquille Pollard, appeared alone at the court hearing this morning, separate from his co-defendants Chad "Rowdy Rebel" Marshall and Nicholas McCoy.
With his sentencing today and time served, Shmurda could be released around this time in 2021. As part of accepting the plea deal, he waived his right to appeal.
"I was forced to take this sentence, I did not want to take this sentence," Shmurda told the court. "I was forced by my attorney to take this plea."
On Sept. 9, days before jury selection for his trial was scheduled to begin and almost two years since the arrest, Shmurda accepted the prosecution's "global plea deal," which reduced his, Rowdy's and McCoy's maximum possible sentences from 15 years. A further five years of post-release supervision is also part of the deal.
But in court today, Shmurda appeared upset, at one point saying, "They lied to me" as Judge Abraham Clott denied a request for adjournment. The rapper's lawyer, Alex Spiro, had asked for a delay on official sentencing, citing that Shmurda had not been interviewed prior to sentencing because on the scheduled date the jail was on lockdown, and also citing comments made to the media recently of which he had only recently become aware.
After the hearing, the 22-year-old's mother, Leslie Pollard, said she was disappointed, but not surprised, by the judge's actions. "You don't have any rights in that courtroom," she said. "It's heartbreaking. It's disappointing."
Shmurda and Spiro have long condemned the case against the rising rapper, who was held on $2 million bond that prevented his record label, Epic Records, from being able to bail him out. Speaking with Complex after accepting the plea deal, which came as a surprise after so many delays and hearings, Shmurda again pointed the finger at the court system.
"If we made bail, I would've beat the case," he said. "We look guilty in these orange jump suits. If you put Al Sharpton in a orange jumpsuit and accuse him of having a gun, he's going to be found guilty. They just look at our skin color, and look at where we're from. I didn't get caught with anything on me and the cops lied, saying they seen me with a gun in my hand. I explained the whole situation to Epic and they were behind me all the way. We had big-money lawyers and they still couldn't do nothing because of the judge, who looked at us like black thugs."
He also explained why he accepted the deal at all. "I did it for Rowdy. They offered me five [years] and offered Rowdy 12," the "Hot Boy" MC said, explaining the terms of the prosecution's global plea deal, which was contingent on all three (Rowdy, Shmurda and McCoy) accepting the same offer. "They said the only way they'll give him seven is if I took seven, too. So, you know, I had to take one for the dawgs."
Addressing those complaints made in the media, Spiro said they were fair and in line with his long-held concerns about the case's location being moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan; about what he saw as an excessively high bail; and that Shmurda, as part of a wider conspiracy arrest, had been over-charged. Many of the original charges against Shmurda were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
"My client is clearly frustrated," Spiro told the court, and said about the comments in the media, "I can't fault him for those. I understand why my client is frustrated."
Ms. Pollard said afterwards that she had not been told about the plea offer beforehand, and was in Miami when she found out that her son had taken a deal. "It was a whole setup," she said, noting that her son had wanted to go to trial. "The judge doesn't know my son. He doesn't care."
Spiro declined to comment following the hearing.
The court appearance officially brings to an end the long-running legal battle that has enveloped the young Brooklyn rapper since his Dec. 17, 2014 arrest at Manhattan's Quad Studios alongside a dozen others. Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel and others said to be in a gang called GS9 were hit with a wide-ranging indictment that included weapons, drugs and assault charges, which rose to murder and attempted murder for several defendants.