Florida rapper Plies (pictured) and his July 2006 shooting case in a Gainesville nightclub led to the entertainer facing a $10-million-dollar civil lawsuit in 2008 from five plaintiffs who were in attendance. Plies can now rest easy after a Gainesville civil court judge threw out the case, after a previous ruling last year that found the rapper and his brother civilly liable for the shooting.
The latest ruling means that Plies, born Algernod Lanier Washington, will not have to pay any of the plaintiffs, even though police found firearms and other contraband at the scene.
“There was absolutely no testimony showing that Plies shot anyone or caused anyone to be shot,” the rapper’s attorney said. “And also that none of the people were legally his employees based on the evidence that they produced.”
Several witnesses offered countering testimony, though, alleging that Plies was responsible for their injuries, including one emotional man who said a bullet flew through his neck. Plies and his legal team maintained from the onset that he had nothing to do with the shootings and should not be held responsible. The rapper’s brother, Ronell Lavette, and a bodyguard were convicted and served time for their role in the case.
Last year, Plies and his entourage were onstage at club 283 West performing. After sound techs cut his microphone off to make way for another performer, Plies was said to have flown into rage and a fracas involving gunshots ensued. Lavette and the bodyguard were said to have unloaded gunshots into the crowd, after Plies’ show was interrupted.
Chris Chestnut, an attorney for the Gainesville plaintiffs, said that he intends to file an appeal in Tallahassee and vowed to get justice for the shooting victims. “We will not stand for artists coming into our community shooting up our citizens,” said attorney Chestnut. “Not in Gainesville, not where I’m from.”