Grammy-winning US rapper Cee Lo Green pleaded not guilty Monday to giving a woman ecstasy before going back to her hotel, but he was not charged with rape.
A lawyer for the musician and producer, who is a judge on US talent show The Voice, expressed satisfaction that prosecutors said there was not enough evidence for sexual assault charges.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Green “allegedly slipped ecstasy to a 33-year-old female while the two were dining at a downtown Los Angeles” restaurant in July last year.
“The two later went back to the woman’s hotel. Prosecutors declined to file a charge of rape of an intoxicated person, citing insufficient evidence,” it added.
Green’s defense attorney Blair Berk said: “We are pleased that the Los Angeles County District Attorney has completed its investigation and concluded that the evidence did not support the false and unfounded claims made over a year ago.”
Any sexual contact between the two was consensual, she told the TMZ celebrity news website.
“As it relates to the one charge of furnishing or sharing ecstasy, Mr. Green will responsibly address that matter in a court of law,” she added.
TMZ reported that the alleged victim claimed to have taped the singer talking about the incident. He said nothing about slipping ecstasy into her drink, but did reference the drug, it said, adding that prosecutors view the tape as a confession.
Police sources cited by TMZ said that Green and the woman had been dating for months and had already been “intimate.”
If convicted, Green faces up to four years in jail. The musician and rapper, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, is formally charged with one felony count of furnishing a controlled substance.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba set bail at $30 000, as requested by prosecutors.
Green is expected to turn himself in for booking within 24 hours, and is due back in court next month.
The singer, who appeared somber in court, can rest assured that his job on “The Voice” is not in jeopardy.
“CeeLo will not be fired,” Mark Burnett, executive producer of the TV talent show told TMZ.
The 38-year-old is perhaps best known for the 2006 worldwide hit Crazy, by the duo Gnarls Barkley along with fellow musician Danger Mouse.
More recently he had a hit with the toe-tapping and expletive-heavy song known in its radio edit version as Forget You, which he performed at the Grammys in 2011.
Green has won five Grammys, including two last year, for best traditional R&B performance and best R&B song for Fool for You.