Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia rapper AR-Ab (real name Abdul West) has been behind the walls of the Federal Detention Center in Philly since his 2018 arrest on drug charges. According to All Hip Hop, AR-Ab filed an emergency motion earlier this week to prevent the murder victims’ family members from delivering their impact statements at Thursday’s (April 15) sentencing hearing.
The federal government’s case against AR-Ab and eight members of his Original Block Hustlaz (OBH) crew was given new life after former associate Dontez “Tez” Stewart testified against the rapper during trial. Stewart claimed AR-Ab ordered a hit on a drug dealer named Robert Johnson. Stewart allegedly carried out the murder in return for roughly $10,000 worth of drugs.
The government was initially planning on letting Johnson’s family give witness impact statements during AR-Ab’s sentencing under The Crime Victim’s Rights Act (CVRA). But AR-Ab’s lawyers argue he was never charged with the murder, therefore they shouldn’t be allowed to speak during the hearing.
Stewart, in fact, was the one charged for the murder and his testimony against AR-Ab led to a reduced sentence of third-degree murder. AR-Ab’s legal team is concerned the family’s testimony could result in a harsher sentence for AR-Ab.
As AR-Ab’s attorney Edward C. Meehan Jr. explained in the the court docs, “Mr. West has never been charged with the murder of Mr. Johnson, much less convicted. The testimony of Stewart at trial did not bear sufficient indicia of reliability to establish any connection between Mr. West and the death of Mr. Johnson.”
If the motion is rejected, Meehan wants the hearing delayed.
Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams filed a motion of her own, asking the judge to dismiss AR-Ab’s last-minute effort to delay sentencing.
“At trial, this Court correctly found that the murder was indeed intrinsic to the conspiracy and ruled that the jury should hear evidence of this murder during trial,” Williams wrote. “That evidence included that the defendant ordered a co-conspirator drug trafficker to kill a suspected rival drug dealer, and then the defendant paid the co-conspirator with significant quantities of drugs. The defendant offers no compelling justification as to why this Court’s previous findings were erroneous.”
AR-Ab built a steady following in the Philly area on a foundation of tough-talking gangsta rap, while earning the respects of Drake, Swizz Beatz and Birdman along the way. In 2019, federal jurors convicted him and three members of his crew for turning the OBH record label into a sizable North Philly drug trafficking operation implicated in several murders.
Since then, AR-Ab has had a tough time in prison. Last December, his little brother Lik Moss sat down with Da Interrogation Room and explained how dire AR-Ab’s condition really was at the time.
“Right now, he’s in a position where he can’t walk at all,” Lik said. “But he’s on a block with my brother and little cousin so they kind of taking care of him right now.”
Last month, co-defendant Dark Lo pleaded guilty to one count of witness intimidation and faces up to nine years in prison if convicted. Dark Lo allegedly threatened Stewart who helped put AR-Ab in prison.