A California judge dismissed conspiracy charges Monday against a rapper and another man in connection with a string of gang shootings that even prosecutors admitted they hadn’t taken part in.
Duncan and Harvey could have faced life in prison after they were charged under an obscure 2000 statute that allows alleged gang members to be prosecuted if they benefit from the crimes of other gang members.
Prosecutors said Duncan’s music sales were boosted by the shootings, and they said Harvey enjoyed enhanced “street cred.”
The rapper’s lyrics were cited as evidence of his ties to the Lincoln Park gang, while prosecutors said Harvey flashed gang signs in Facebook posts.
However, a San Diego Superior Court judge dismissed charges against the pair, saying there was not enough evidence to bring them to trial for conspiracy.
The 33-year-old Duncan cheered the ruling, saying it was a victory for countless rap artists who depict the gritty reality of gang violence through their music.
"If you want to hear my music, it's not promoting anything," Duncan told KNSD-TV. "I'm not telling anybody to commit no crime, I'm not telling anybody to do anything -- it's just artistry. I'm painting a picture of an urban community."
Five other suspects whose cases were heard alongside Duncan and Harvey remain held on conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and shooting into an inhabited dwelling.
Three others will go to trial for conspiracy.
A judge previously dismissed cases against five other defendants in the case.
Watch this video report posted online by KGTV-TV: