Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z and three other men were arrested early this morning outside a Manhattan nightclub and held on charges of illegal gun possession despite the fact that only one man was allegedly carrying a weapon.
"Once the facts come to light, Jay-Z will be fully exonerated," the rapper's lawyer, Stacey Richman, said outside the Midtown North Precinct where he and the others were questioned.
Jay-Z is one of many rap stars to be indicted recently.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, was detained shortly after 3 a.m. when his bodyguard, Hamzah Hewitt, allegedly was found with a loaded handgun in his waistband, said a law enforcement source, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Police earlier had said the weapon was found inside the 2001 Chevrolet Suburban in which Jay-Z was riding.
Rapper Made Quick Appearance at Nightclub Before Arrest
Members of the police department's Street Crime Unit were patrolling the neighborhood near the Club Exit nightclub on Manhattan's West Side when they saw Jay-Z and two other men enter the club while a driver stayed in the vehicle, the law enforcement source said.
The rapper and his two friends were in the club for only about 20 minutes when they left and got back in the Suburban. One of the Street Crime officers then allegedly saw Hewitt carrying a handgun as he climbed into the front passenger seat, the source said.
As the vehicle pulled away from the club, police stopped the vehicle and found the loaded, Glock semiautomatic handgun, allegedly in Hewitt's waistband. All four were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
Along with Jay-Z, 31, and Hewitt, 39, police detained Romero Chambers, 43, and Tyran Smith, 28. Their relationship to the rapper was not immediately known.
Today's incident was not Jay-Z's first run-in with the law. He was indicted in January 2000 for allegedly stabbing a record executive during a nightclub brawl. He has a court appearance in that case scheduled for Monday.
The rapper's Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life won the Grammy for best rap album in 1999.