The 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History

6. The State of New Jersey v. Charly Wingate (2009)

Crime: Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Murder
Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Currently serving 75 years a Bergen County Correctional Facility in New Jersey. 

Max B was released from prison in 2005 after serving eight years on robbery charges. The same year, he began working with Jim Jones and the Diplomats, making his first splash on the chorus of Cam’ron’s Jay-Z diss “You Got to Love It” and Jim Jones’ lead single “Baby Girl.”

Then, in 2006, David Taylor was shot execution-style in a hotel room, while his associate Allen Plowden and another woman were tied up with duct tape. Gina Conway, who was romantically involved with Max, and Max’s stepbrother Kelvin Leerdam, were accused of robbery and murder, which, according to police, had been orchestrated by Max B.

The trial relied heavily on the testimony of Gina Conway, who claimed she had met Plowden and found out about his considerable wealth—he was involved in mortgage fraud and embezzlement scams—and told Max about the money. They planned to rob Plowden and Taylor, Conway said.

Oddly, after the robbery, it was reported that Conway took what she recovered not to Max, but to another associate of hers, strip club bouncer Turon Gholston. Based upon Conway’s claims, Max and Leerdam were arrested; Max’s bail was set at $2 million, and he was unable to pay it.

At the same time, Jim Jones was experiencing unprecedented success, as his single “We Fly High” climbed the charts. Max, who was widely being credited with co-writing the song, as well as a multitude of other Jim Jones releases, started making noise from behind bars. Eventually, Jim Jones agreed to pay Max’s bail, but only did it in exchange for the rights to Max’s publishing. This freed Max to record the many mixtapes that eventually built up his buzz (and led to a very public falling-out between the two rappers), but it didn’t help him stay out of jail.

After Gina Conway’s testimony, the rapper was convicted to 75 years. Conway’s sentence was reduced to 15. Max fired his lawyer not long after the jury reached its verdict.

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