Pitchfork Video Leads to Delayed Chief Keef Gun Hearing
CHICAGO — When Englewood teen rapper Chief Keef's first record drops next week, he probably won't be in jail.
Cook County prosecutors on Thursday agreed to postpone a hearing slated for the day before "Finally Rich" is set to hit stores. That could keep the rap sensation — whose real name is Keith Cozart — out of juvenile detention for allegedly violating his probation.
Cozart, 17, has Pitchfork Media to thank for fighting a court order to turn over key evidence in the case and resulting delays, including the latest, which had prosecutors requesting more time to review evidence.
The Chicago-based online music publication featured Cozart in its "Selector" series earlier this year. Producers interviewed the young rapper at a gun range in New York and reportedly filmed him with a rifle.
That, prosecutors have argued, amounts to a violation of Cozart's probation for pointing a gun at a Chicago cop. To stay out of jail he is supposed to stay away from guns and gangs.
Pitchfork removed the Cozart video from its website and issued what amounts to an apology in September.
“The horror of the gun violence that has plagued our hometown is something we all take very seriously,” a company official said in a statement. “Many people have pointed out that this episode could be seen as trivializing gun violence, and we feel they have a good point."
Prosecutors got a court order to obtain the Pitchfork video. But the company fought it with a last-ditch plea on Thursday, citing the "absolute importance of Freedom of the Press."
Judge Carl Anthony Walker, who sits in juvenile court, sided with the prosecution.
With the evidence in hand, Assistant State's Attorney Jullian Brevard said the prosecution would need additional time to review it and agreed to set a new date for Cozart's hearing, which was supposed to be Monday. There will still be a status hearing that day but attorneys are expected to pick a new date for the actual hearing.
That means Cozart will likely be free to celebrate the release of "Finally Rich" on the outside of a juvenile detention cell.
Cozart has also been part of an investigation by Chicago police in to the slaying of rival rapper Joseph "Lil JoJo" Coleman, who was gunned down on the South Side in September.
Cozart wasn't a suspect. Police were looking in to whether the murder was connected to a battle between Chief Keef and Lil JoJo that played out on Twitter at the time.
Promoters in Chicago have been plastering the posters around Cozart's native Englewood in anticipation of the album. But police announced plans to remove the posters from public property, according to the Sun-Times.