Pennsylvania Supreme Court Takes On Rap Lyrics Case

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Takes On Rap Lyrics Case


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s highest court will decide whether a Pittsburgh man’s anti-police rap lyrics are protected free expression or amount to witness intimidation and making terroristic threats.

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in the case of Jamal Knox, who served state prison time for the song he recorded after being arrested on drug charges.

Knox was charged after an officer found the YouTube video, performed by Knox under the name Mayhem Mal of the Ghetto Superstar Committee.

The video taunts by name two officers involved in the drug arrest and mentions Richard Poplawski, who’s on death row for killing three Pittsburgh police officers in 2009.

Knox’s lawyer, Al Burke told CBS Pittsburgh in 2014 that Knox wasn’t trying to intimidate the officers and didn’t intend the video to be posted online.

“He had no intention of making this song, in the format that it was, in public. He had no intentions of bringing harm to the police, but certainly the lyrics reflect his attention to things that have happened in the community. In addition, the court was pointing out that there were other charges that Mr. Knox was convicted of and that that’s what the sentence was reflecting and it was not reflecting a sentence just about his song.”

PHOTO: YouTube screenshot

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