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Rapper Cardi B pleads not guilty in attacks on bartenders

Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B was arraigned Tuesday on new felony charges in connection with a fight last year at a New York City strip club. She pleaded not guilty to attempted assault. The rapper rejected a plea deal earlier this year. (June 25) (Credit: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Award-winning rapper Cardi B coordinated attacks against two sisters who were bartenders, leading to bottle-throwing, head-slamming strikes at a Queens bar last year, the Queens District Attorney's Office said in announcing her arraignment Tuesday on an indictment.

The Bronx singer, 26, also known as Belcalis Almanzar, discussed on social media payment for the attacks, the targets and other details of the Aug. 15 and Aug. 29 incidents at Angels Gentlemen’s Club and Restaurant in College Point, court papers said.

She and two co-defendants from Brooklyn pleaded not guilty at the arraignment on a 12-count indictment charging each with two felony counts of attempted assault, six misdemeanor charges that included conspiracy and criminal solicitation, and two violations.

Court papers do not cite the motive, but the attacks reportedly stemmed from Cardi B's belief that one of the bartenders had an affair with her husband, rapper Offset.

In the first attack, the 21-year-old bartender victim was serving Cardi B's group when a female in the group grabbed the employee by her hair, slammed her head into the bar and repeatedly punched her, court papers said. Others joined in hitting the woman while Jeffrey “AstonMartinChuck” Bush, 34, videotaped the attack and bodyblocked anyone trying to intervene, prosecutors said.

In the second attack, the bartender's 23-year-old sister was serving Cardi B and her group when the rapper's companion, Tawana “RemyRojaLaPerla” Jackson-Morel, 36, hurled a cocktail into the employee's face, authorities said. Cardi B and Bush, along with others who haven't been arrested yet, threw drinks, glass bottles and various objects at the bartender, who suffered cuts and bruises, prosecutors said.

Before both attacks, the three used social media accounts to plan details.

All three were released on their own recognizance. If convicted, they face up to 4 years in prison, authorities said.

Attorneys for Cardi B and Bush were not immediately available for comment Tuesday night, but Jackson-Morel's attorney, Stacey Richman of the Bronx, defended her client as a hardworking mother.

"I believe in my client's integrity," Richman said. "She's a hardworking woman and she's extremely involved in the PTA."

Cardi B has been an award magnet since her days as a club stripper, which she said allowed her to escape poverty and an abusive relationship. Six years ago, her videos went viral on social media and that thrust her into the mainstream limelight.

She won a Grammy earlier this year for best rap album for "Invasion of Privacy" and was named by BET this year as the best female hip-hop artist. Her songs and collaborations with other artists have garnered a host of awards and nominations from Billboard music, American Music Awards, BET and international competitions.

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