CeeLo Green pleads not guilty to drug charge
Green's lawyer says she's pleased DA rejected "false and unfounded claims" of rape
Green is accused of slipping Ecstasy to a woman while the two were dining, DA says
Prosecutors cited insufficient evidence for a charge of rape of an intoxicated person
CeeLo Green, a singer who is a coach on the television singing competition “The Voice,” has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of giving the drug Ecstasy to a woman who also accused him of sexually assaulting her last year, according to prosecutors.
But the 38-year-old Atlanta singer, who rose to worldwide fame with the hit songs “Forget You” and “Crazy,” will not face sexual assault charges after prosecutors concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to take that accusation to court, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement released Monday.
Green, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, appeared in court Monday to be arraigned on the sole charge of furnishing a controlled substance. The charge carries a potential sentence of up to four years in prison.
After Green pleaded not guilty, the judge accepted prosecutors’ recommendation to set his bond at $30,000 and ordered him to return to court on November 20.
“Are you relieved?” a reporter asked him before his arraignment. The singer-songwriter nodded yes.
“Are you scared?” the reporter asked. “No,” Green replied.
According to prosecutors, Green slipped the drug to a 33-year-old woman while they were having dinner on July 13 or July 14, 2012. They later went back to her hotel, prosecutors said.
The woman accused Green of sexually assaulting her at the Luxe Hotel after their dinner together, CNN affiliate KTLA reported, citing a Los Angeles Police Department statement.
The Los Angeles Times reported the woman said she woke up naked in bed with Green in her room.
But in their statement Monday, prosecutors said they had declined to file a charge of rape of an intoxicated person, citing insufficient evidence.
Green “will responsibly address” the drug charge in court and is pleased prosecutors decided not to proceed with the sex assault charge, his attorney, Blair Berk, said in a statement issued Monday.
“Mr. Green encouraged a full and complete investigation of those claims, and he was confident once conducted, he would be cleared of having any wrongful intent and it would be established that any relations were consensual,” Berk said. “CeeLo had faith that if the true facts were known, the district attorney would reject those charges.”
She said the decision by prosecutors showed that “the evidence did not support the false and unfounded claims made over a year ago.”
NBC declined to comment on Green’s future with the show, a singing competition that involves teams of aspiring artists mentored by one of four coaches, one of whom is Green. It is currently airing taped episodes, the latest of which aired Monday night.
The show, now in its fifth season, has been among NBC’s most popular programs. Aside from football programming, the show was NBC’s best-rated show in 2012, according to Nielsen. It ranked No. 6, with more than 14 million viewers for its October 3 episode, the ratings company said.
Green began his music career as a member of the Southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob. He later became part of the duo Gnarls Barkley, whose 2006 song “Crazy” became a worldwide hit. Four years later, he recorded “Forget You,” which achieved similar success.
His work has netted him five Grammys and numerous other awards.
CNN’s Alan Duke reported and wrote from Los Angeles, Michael Pearson wrote from Atlanta; CNN’s Lindsey Knight and Denise Quan also contributed to this report.