Rapper T.I. to be released on bond by federal magistrate judge

Earlier today, Magistrate Judge Baverman agreed to allow T.I. (Clifford Harris, Jr.) to post bond while facing federal criminal charges in Atlanta. Last week, T.I.’s defense lawyers asked the judge for a multi-million dollar bond with home detention and close supervision. Today, the judge granted the request and set T.I.’s bond at $3 million with some extraordinary restrictions and conditions, including no visitors after 8 p.m. and no alcohol at all. Visitors are limited to 3 at a time and only during “visiting hours.” They must also pass a criminal background check. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the details.

Now that he’s out, the next step for T.I. and his lawyers will be a review of all evidence relating to the case. By now, the government should have already provided the lawyers with discovery materials pursuant to Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 16 materials usually include any statements of the defendant, copies of relevant documents and access to any physical evidence for inspection and examination. I am sure that the defense lawyers will also conduct their own investigation of the government’s potential witnesses and informants. If there are audio or video recorded conversations between the informants and T.I., copies will be provided to the defense team.

If the case goes to trial, the defense lawyers will be provided with any prior statements made by the witnesses against T.I. and any related impeachment material (usually plea deals and special consideration provided by the government to their informants and witnesses). The local practice is for the government to dump all this information on the defense the Friday before a Monday trial.

When would the case go to trial? If there is no deal, the trial is supposed to start within 70 days. But there are almost always delays. Usually, the delays are the result of motions hearings and other pretrial procedures.

This case is expected to be a “short case”, but the government has already indicated a possibility of additional charges. If so, it looks like a long and difficult ride for T.I. At least he will be at home while the case is pending. It certainly beats a Union City jail cell.

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