With his friends-including actors Mickey
Rourke" and Jasmine Guy-rallied around, Tupac sat
through the morning session before his right leg went
numb. He then went uptown and secretly checked into
Metropolitan Hospital Center on East 97th Street under
the name of Bob Day.
Several hours later, the jury came back with verdicts
on Tupac and Fuller: guilty of fondling the woman against
her will-sexual abuse-but innocent on the weightier
sodomy and weapon charges. A few jurors argued for full
acquittal and viewed the verdict as a compromise. "There
was a very strong feeling that there just was not enough
evidence," says juror Richard Devitt.
"We're ecstatic that the jury found that there
was almost no merit to these charges whatsoever,"
said Tupac's beaming lawyer, Michael Warren. He plans
to appeal the sexual abuse conviction. Sentencing was
delayed due to Tupac's condition, and he remained free
on $25,000 bail.
For the second time in eight weeks, Tupac had beaten
a felony rap. On October 7, in Atlanta, Fulton County
DA Louis Slaton dropped the aggravated assault charges
filed against Tupac on October 31, 1993. Tupac and his
posse had shot two off-duty police officers in the buttocks
and abdomen, but witnesses told the DA that Tupac and
company had fired in self-defense after Officer Mark
Whitwell fired at them. Whitwell resigned from the force
seven months after the shooting.
Some conspiracy theorists leaped to the conclusion that
Tupac had been set up and that the "robbery"
was a payback for his perceived attacks on police; others
concocted a revenge plot by the rape accuser. Tupac's
lawyer fanned the flames, citing his' client's exaggerated
suspicion of cops to explain his flight from the hospital.I
The lawyer rejects the notion that this was a simple
robbery: "These circumstances give rise for a reasonable
person to raise an eyebrow."
The shooting of a young black man has rarely generated
so much attention. "I hope people realize that
the black male is under attack," says Nation of
Islam minister Conrad Muhammad, who was on hand at the
courthouse. "This is a wake-up call to the young
men in the music industry. You have a moment onstage,
a moment before the world-what will you do with it?"
Reporting by Eric Berman, Rob Kenner,
Ian Landau, Danyel Smith, Joe Tirella,
Josh Tyrangiel, Mimi Valdes, and Elizabeth Yo