Arthur Pressley, better known as 30 Deep Grimeyy, jogging into the federal courthouse downtown .
Prosecution and defense clashed in federal court yesterday over whether or not a Beretta 9mm belonged to a popular St. Louis rapper when he was stopped by police in January of last year.
According to federal prosecutors, Arthur Pressley, better known as rapper 30 Deep Grimeyy, had the firearm when St. Louis police pulled him and three other men over on January 5, 2021. Pressley is a convicted felon, making it illegal to have the gun in his possession. The gun was in the car's backseat between Pressley and another man.
Pressley has released numerous music videos with millions of views on YouTube. His video for "Grim Reapa Flow" has 14 million views. "Dead Goofies" has almost that many as well. He was named St. Louis' best rapper
by the RFT
earlier this year.
In the prosecution's opening statement yesterday, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Szczucinski quoted direct messages Pressley allegedly sent to associates prior to the traffic stop. The content of these messaged, she says, indicates the Beretta belonged to him.
“I got three red clips and a thirty clip,” read one message Pressley allegedly sent. Prosecutors say that Pressley also sent a direct message containing a photo of gun with its serial numbers partially visible.
Szczucinski told the jury in her opening statement that Pressley was the leader of the 30 Deep gang, which the ATF had been doing an “extensive” instigation into.
The defense waived their own opening statement.
The only witness called on day one of the trial was Ryan Woodson, one of the officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who pulled over Pressley and the other men.
Woodson testified that he recognized Pressley as 30 Deep Grimeyy because of his tattoos.
During questioning by U.S. Attorney Cassie Wiemken, Woodson showed what the gun looked like during the traffic stop. An extended magazine with 23 rounds loaded into it protruded from the handgun's grip.
During the defense’s cross examination of Woodson, Pressley’s attorney Dramon Foster asked if the police had a “50-50” chance of attributing ownership of the gun to the right person, given that it was equidistant between two people. This led to an objection by the prosecution.
Foster also highlighted that the weapon wasn’t hidden and no one made any attempt to conceal the firearm despite having ample time to do so.
It also came to light during the cross examination of Woodson that another individual in the car tried to claim ownership of the gun. Foster pointed out that none of the other men in the car with Pressley were felons and therefore it wasn’t illegal for any of them to have it.
Pressley is also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly arranging for a fake bill of sale between the previous owner of the Beretta and the man seated beside Pressley in the car when it was pulled over.
Yesterday’s proceedings came to an abrupt halt only about two hours after the jury was seated. The jury was dismissed around 2:30 p.m.
Soon thereafter, the other man in the backseat of the car with Pressley was called into the courtroom. He was, and possibly still is, scheduled to testify today. But the judge instructed him that he could potentially be putting himself in some legal jeopardy by testifying, so the court needed to appoint him a lawyer.
The judge indicated that the man's potential legal liability concerned a document he signed, which presumably referred to the bill of sale for the gun involved in the obstruction charge against Pressley.
The judge described the situation going into today as “fluid.”
Yesterday morning, Pressley arrived at the courthouse in jeans and a hoodie shortly before the start of jury selection, a process which took about four hours. Seated between his lawyers at the defense table, Pressley wore a light colored suit jacket, a dress shirt buttoned all the way to the top and no tie.
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