Assault suit against N.W.A. is dismissed

A Los Angeles court yesterday rejected the claims of a former TV-show hostess and dismissed a $ 22 million defamation and assault suit aimed at rap group N.W.A, its manager and record label.

L.A. Superior Court Judge Jerold A. Krieger denied the claims made by Denise (Dee) Barnes and ordered the matter dismissed against N.W.A, group manager Jerry Heller and group label Ruthless Records.

The judge also rejected Barnes’ attempts to reinstate previously dismissed charges against the individual members of N.W.A: Eric Wright (Eazy-E), Lorenzo Patterson (MC Ren) and Antoine Carraby (Yella).

Barnes, who hosted the now-defunct music show “Pump It Up,” was allegedly the victim of an assault two years ago by N.W.A member Andre Young (Dr. Dre) outside the Speakeasy, a West Hollywood nightclub. Her suit was a result of comments made by Wright and Patterson in response to questions about Barnes (Daily Variety, June 28, 1991).

The court also rejected Barnes’ request to hold N.W.A, Heller and Ruthless liable for Young’s alleged assault, supporting defense counsel claims that the rappers merely expressed their “subjective opinions.”

Wright could not be reached for comment. Heller said “this case was ridiculous from the beginning. We are now considering a malicious prosecution action against Barnes and her lawyers.”

Young remains a defendant in a separate civil assault and battery action filed by Barnes. An L.A. criminal court convicted Young of assault in the incident and he is currently on probation. Young also will be sentenced later this month for his conviction last October (Daily Variety, Oct. 21, 1992) on two counts of battery on a police officer as a result of a brawl in a hotel lobby there. Young is also awaiting trial on charges he assaulted a record producer.

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