Judge Garaufis: Jury can hear rap rhymes Ra Diggs at murder trial

May 8, 2014 Associated Press
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 A federal judge says a jury can hear the gritty rhymes of a New York City man accused of being a murderous drug kingpin.

Defendant Ronald Herron is a rapper known as Ra Diggs.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued the ruling Thursday.

Prosecutors had argued that amateur music videos with titles like “Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun” are evidence of fatal shootings and other real crimes.

Herron’s lawyers contended it’s protected free speech that could prejudice jurors.

The judge told the defense it can argue at trial that the recordings were harmless works of art.

He also ruled lawyers can call an expert on hip-hop culture to put the violent lyrics in context.

Opening statements are expected later this month in Brooklyn.

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