What to Know
- Legendary hip-hop musician and actor Eric Barrier was released on bail Tuesday after spending more than two weeks in a New Jersey jail
- Court records show that the 56-year-old had been jailed since Oct. 28 all stemming from an incident in September 2001
- A bench warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in court for sentencing in March 2002, NJ Advance Media reports
Legendary hip-hop musician and actor Eric Barrier was released on bail Tuesday after spending more than two weeks in a New Jersey jail after surrendering voluntarily in connection to a warrant issued 17 years ago.
Court records show that the 56-year-old has been jailed since Oct. 28 all stemming from an incident that took place September 2001.
NJ Advance Media reports that Barrier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding on Jan. 28, 2002 for the incident that took place in Ridgefield Park the previous year.
A bench warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in court for sentencing in March 2002, according to court documents.
Barrier was released on bail Tuesday. He is due back in court Nov. 22.
Barrier’s attorney at the time, Paul Bergrin of Nutley, told him “there was no need to appear on the sentencing date,” Barrier's current attorney Patrick Toscano said in a letter to the court last week, according to NJ Advance Media.
Years later, in an unrelated case, according to the report, Bergrin himself was convicted of murder, cocaine, trafficking, racketeering and other crimes, for which he is serving six life sentences at a "supermax" federal prison in Colorado.
According to NJ Advance Media, Toscano wrote in a letter to the judge that “Mr. Bergrin told Mr. Barrier that his case was ‘dismissed’ because he was accepted into PTI (pre-trial intervention)" and that Barrier also said he received no notice from the court about his failure to appear.
Toscano described Bergrin's counsel as "flawed, fraudulent, unethical and deceptive, through no fault of Mr. Barrier.” Toscano says that punishing his client would be “draconian and unfair.”
Barrier came back to New Jersey, contacted an attorney about the warrant and has been in the Bergen County Jail since late last month, according to Toscano, who also says he met with Barrier recently and he “was literally at wits end and overcome with anxiety."
In a statement to News 4 New York, Toscano said: "The allegations against my client are some 19 years old. The legal advice given to him at that time was exceedingly impolitic, and we will be righting that wrong promptly. Mr. Barrier will be clearing this all up with reasonable dispatch."
Barrier was part of the legendary rap duo Eric B. & Rakim and is currently an actor on the CBS series "Blue Bloods."