NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Rapper Juelz Santana can go on tour while he’s facing weapons charges, providing he’s monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet … and mom.
A federal judge on Friday modified the bail conditions for Santana, whose real name is LaRon James, to allow him to play the first five shows of his upcoming 15-city nationwide tour.
Among the conditions: that Santana’s mother accompanies him on the trips, that he drives instead of flies and that they don’t travel with other members of the tour.
In court Friday, Santana told the judge that his mother, who wasn’t in attendance, had consented to join him on the tour.
Santana will be back in court next month for a review of “how things went” and to discuss whether he can play other shows, U.S. District Judge Michael Hammer said.
“I view it as a reasonable and productive exercise of his time to work and provide for his family,” Hammer said. Prosecutors had opposed changing the bail conditions.
Santana has pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a weapon on an aircraft. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Authorities say Newark Liberty International Airport security on March 9 found a loaded .38-caliber handgun and non-prescribed oxycodone pills in a carry-on bag containing Santana’s identification. He has been free on $500,000 bail and living with his mother and brother.
“I just want to say thank you to the judge,” he said as he left the courtroom.
The shows in question are in Hampton, New Hampshire; Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore, and Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina.
“We’re pleased he’ll be able to work and he’ll be able to demonstrate to the court his continued responsibility as a performer and as a person under pre-trial supervision,” Santana’s attorney, Brian Neary, said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Desiree Latzer argued Friday that Santana had been en route to a show when he was arrested and that he could easily carry a gun with him in a car. She also noted that other performers on the tour have prior weapons arrests and that the electronic ankle bracelet can monitor where Santana is but not what he’s doing.
“It’s a very long leash,” she said.
Citing prior domestic violence issues, Hammer delayed ruling on Santana’s motion to be allowed to return his home in Totowa, New Jersey, with his girlfriend and children. Santana pleaded guilty to making a terroristic threat to commit a crime of violence in 2011 after an incident during which he also was charged with violating a restraining order.
A trial date hasn’t been set.
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