Mystikal pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, domestic abuse, false imprisonment, and more at an arraignment hearing outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana Monday, Sept. 19, The Associated Press reports.
The rapper — real name Michael Tyler — is facing numerous charges in relation to an incident where he allegedly sexually assaulted and held a woman against her will in late July. Along with the first-degree rape charge (which carries an automatic life sentence), Tyler was charged with criminal damage to property, false imprisonment, domestic abuse, battery by strangulation, simple robbery, and several drug-related offenses.
Tyler’s lawyer, Joel Pearce, did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. Speaking with AP, though, Pearce reiterated his belief in his client’s innocence and cast doubt on some of the charges. He said he didn’t know what Tyler was even accused of stealing, and of the drug charges, he stated, “My client doesn’t even do drugs, so he has absolutely no idea what they were talking about.”
Mystikal was arrested at the end of July, and he was indicted by a grand jury on nine criminal counts, including the first-degree rape charge, in September. Tyler is currently being held in Ascension Parish Prison without bail, but Pearce said possible bond may be discussed at a hearing on Oct. 17.
Pearce previously represented Tyler in another sexual assault case in 2017, which also carried charges of first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping. While the rapper spent nearly 18 months in jail before posting a $3 million bond, the charges were ultimately dismissed by a grand jury in December 2020 following the discovery of additional evidence.
In 2004, Tyler pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his hairstylist and was sentenced to six years in prison. Upon his release in 2010, he had to register as a sex offender.