Shawn Harewood's Retrial Begins | Safaree Samuels Robbery Case
Four years ago, rapper Safaree Samuels (Nicki Minaj’s ex-boyfriend who is best known for being a star on Love & Hip Hop) was robbed at gunpoint in Fort Lee. Samuels was on the way to an interview on the Angie Martinez Show. The gunman and his accomplices stole $183,000 worth of jewelry. Samuels alleged that two men ran up to him, held him at gunpoint, and stole his jewelry. A TMZ video was later released that showed two men with guns drawn approach Safaree, and the two men searched through Safaree’s red fur coat and took his valuables before demanding that he get on the ground facedown.
Two suspects (later identified as Shawn Harewood and Jonathan Ricketts) fled the scene in an SUV. When police tried to intercept the vehicle, the driver fled (to New York City), and the police became engaged in a chase. During the pursuit, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed, and the occupants then fled on foot. The NYPD then became involved, which led to the arrest of both Rickets and Harewood.
Weeks later, Tacuma Ashman, Harewood’s cousin, was also arrested in Newark as the prosecution said they found his license, cellphone, and red hat (that was worn during the robbery) were found in the crashed vehicle. The police also recovered Samuels’ jewelry. In February, Ashman was found guilty of armed robbery of $180,000 and sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment for his role in the theft.
While Ashman and Harewood were initially co-defendants, a judge declared a mistrial for Harewood after his attorney withdrew from the case for personal reasons. Harewood’s retrial began Tuesday, June 7th.
Harewood has been accused of being the alleged mastermind of the robbery. The prosecution is alleging that he recruited Ashman and the others involved to commit the robbery and did not rob Samuels himself as he would be recognized by the rapper; Harewood and Samuels were childhood friends. However, defense attorney Brian Neary is asking jurors to ignore the prosecution’s “magic show” and focus on the real facts of the case.
Prosecutor Megan Kilzy claims that the prosecution has strong evidence, including text messages between Harewood and Ashman that show that Harewood told Asher to get someone he trusted involved to help and included exchanges about their plans on where and when to commit the robbery. They also claim to have found evidence on Harewood’s phone that proves he kept tabs on Samuels using an app and connected GPS device that was wrapped in a jacket on the wheel well of Samuels’ car.
The defense has decided to focus on Samuels’ supposedly suspicious behavior. Attorney Neary has called the rapper’s behavior following the robbery into question by claiming that he is trying to garner publicity and celebrity status through this case. Neary claims that Samuels did not seem traumatized when he came to make a police statement nor did he seem frazzled when he went to his interview with Angie Martinez the following morning. Neary has also argued that Harewood panicked when he fled from the police but was not a part of committing or planning the crime.
At Brickfield & Donahue, our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients obtain the best possible results. With over 150 years of combined experience, we are equipped to help clients with a variety of criminal defense matters including, appeals and post-conviction issues.
To learn more about our services or schedule a case consultation, call (201) 574-7919 or reach out online today.