Wu-Tang Clan Producer Granted Bail After Bizarre Courtroom Rant
MANHATTAN SURPEME COURT — A Wu-Tang Clan producer who escaped police custody after allegedly trying to rape a woman in his Harlem apartment went on a bizarre courtroom rant Wednesday — threatening to "fire" the judge among other ramblings.
"I do not consent to participate willingly to these proceedings," said a defiant Derrick Harris, 41, also known as rapper and producer True Master, while denouncing his American citizenship and declaring his ties to an independent nation.
Despite pleas from prosecutors, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley agreed to free Harris on $250,000 bond, reversing a criminal court judge's decision to hold him without bail.
Harris allegedly lured a 43-year-old woman to his West 120th Street apartment on Sept. 12, then "viciously attacked" her, sexually assaulted her, and tried to rape her while she attempted to escape. She fled the apartment half-naked and was spotted by witnesses running down the street.
He was arraigned Sept. 14 on sexual abuse, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment, among other charges, but managed to slipped out of police custody at Manhattan Criminal Court before he was transferred to Department of Correction custody, officials said.
He was arrested about five hours later while jumping over a fence near his apartment as police officers swarmed his block, prosecutors and neighbors said.
Harris seemed unfazed by the charges on Wednesday, interrupting the court clerk to demand to know the judge's name and other information.
"Sir, I'm not here to be questioned by you at the moment," Bartley, the presiding judge on Wednesday, told Harris.
"As I told you my nationality and you don't want to respect me, you don't think that I have the authority to fire you?" Harris asked.
"If you wish to fire me, sir, please feel free to do so," Bartley shot back before moving ahead with the arraignment on Harris' indictment.
Harris also suggested the criminal proceedings against him do not apply to him because he belongs to an alternative social order.
"I'm a sovereign national, my whole life. As I said, I have unalienable rights," Harris said, adding that he's "not negro, black, colored or African-American."
"You can play if you want to play, but all you're doing is asking [me] to exercise my authority to have your ass fired," the artist added before the judge regained control of the hearing.
The tirade was apparently an expression of Harris' beliefs in a new world order, one endorsed by Wu-Tang and written about in books like "The Wu-Tang Manual" and lyrics by its members. Harris has produced songs with Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard and others tied to the group.
After the rant, Bartley granted Harris bail and did not elaborate on his decision to reverse the criminal court judge's bail determination.
"The defendant is a clear flight risk, he actually fled from the jurisdiction of the court," Assistant District Attorney Germaine Corprew said. "We again vehemently oppose setting bail in this case."
Harris's attorney, Ian Niles, said Harris did not "attempt to flee in any sort of way" and claimed that he was released after his arraignment, despite claims to the contrary from prosecutors, the Department of Correction and the NYPD.
"He was released, presumably on bail, after his arraignment," Niles said, declining to elaborate.
He also declined to elaborate on what his client said in court.
"What he said is what he believes," Niles said.
Niles said he could not confirm whether Harris will make bail but told the judge "family is of means to perhaps make some bail."