Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, met as teens in Queens in the 1990s. Now, another woman who knew Petty from his youth is claiming the couple won’t leave the past in the past.

Jennifer Hough says the couple has been harassing her, insisting that she recant a rape accusation against Minaj’s husband that goes back to 1994.

What Happened in 1994?

Hough’s story is documented in a new civil lawsuit that she filed against both Petty and Minaj.

In 1994, when Hough was 16-years-old, she says she was waiting at a bus stop when she was approached by Petty, who was also 16 at the time. According to her story, Petty put a knife to her back and made her walk to his apartment. When they got to the apartment, he proceeded to rape her. The lawsuit states that when Petty got off Hough, he stood up, looked in a mirror, pounded his chest, and repeated, “I am the man. I am the man.”

Once Hough left the apartment, she sought help, and Petty was quickly arrested. Petty was charged and accepted a plea deal which put him in jail for nearly four years, according to NBC News.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Why Is This Resurfacing Now?

In July 2019, Petty moved from New York to California. He was required to register as a sex offender, but he did not. In November of the same year, Petty was pulled over for a traffic stop. At that time, authorities learned he had not registered as a sex offender and arrested him.

The arrest brought the story into the news and initiated the events that led up to the recent harassment charges.

Hough says it was around this time that Minaj and her team began contacting her and asking her to recant her story.

The lawsuit says Minaj and her associates contacted Hough and her family multiple times offering cash bribes. Minaj and her team are said to have called Hough and offered to “help her out” by flying her and her family to California and also offered her as much as $500,000.

Hough says that this harassment and intimidation is stirring up old trauma she experienced during the time of the rape. At that time, she was reportedly intimidated and harassed by people in her neighborhood who were trying to get her to drop the charges against Petty. Now, she is experiencing a similar situation.

Hough believes the actions of Petty, Minaj, and their associates are intended to intimidate and inflict emotional distress on her. The situation has caused her pain and suffering and led her to move three times in one year. The lawsuit says she “has not worked since May of 2020 due to severe depression, paranoia, constant moving, harassment, and threats from the defendants and their associates. She is currently living in isolation out of fear of retaliation.”

Hough has also stated that she has no interest and has never expressed interest in a bribe or recanting her story.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

So, What Happens Next?

Hough’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It is a civil case, so at this time, Minaj and Petty don’t face any criminal charges.

It’s worth noting that Petty has also been convicted and served time for another criminal charge. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the 2002 shooting death of Lamunt Robinson. Petty was sentenced to ten years. He served seven and was on supervised release for five years.

Despite Petty’s troubled past, Minaj is standing by him, stating on Instagram, “He was 15, she was 16… in a relationship. But go awf Internet. y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”

The lawsuit states that Petty and Hough were never in a relationship.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

Get an Attorney Who Will Fight For You

Whether you find yourself in a civil or criminal case, it’s important to have an attorney who will stand by your side. If you are dealing with a legal matter and don’t know where to turn, contact the offices of TJ Grimaldi. TJ’s number one goal is to take care of his clients and ensure that they get the fairest and most just outcomes possible.

If you need legal advice on an upcoming case, contact TJ today. All consultations with TJ are free. Request your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman is known for catching criminals — not being related to them. But in August, it was his daughter who ended up behind bars.

What led to her arrest, and does her self-defense claim hold up in her domestic violence case?

One Side of the Story

Cecily Barmore Chapman, 28, is the daughter of the late Beth Chapman who was married to Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman in 2006. Duane adopted Cecily along with her three other siblings after he married Beth. Duane and Cecily currently have a strained relationship, so he wasn’t involved in her recent arrest, nor has he commented on her situation.

On July 31, cops in Honolulu got a phone call from Cecily’s boyfriend, Matty Smith. Smith said Cecily was intoxicated, punched him in the face and back, and also bit him. He claimed it wasn’t the first time Cecily had psychically attacked him.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested Cecily for “misdemeanor abuse of a household member” as reported by Fox News.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

The Other Side of the Story

While Smith made Cecily out to be the aggressor in the situation, Cecily tells another story.

According to Cecily, she only got physical with Smith as a way to protect herself. She claims Smith made disrespectful comments about her mother while attacking her.

“It’s truly sad that a woman who was attacked by a man and defended herself would be shamed for doing so. It’s gross. Let me be a voice of clarity for little girls everywhere, fight back before you become a victim,” she told Page Six.

“I was attacked. I defended myself. I’d do it again. End of story,” she added.

Related: Is Ronnie From “Jersey Shore” Headed to Jail After Domestic Incidents? 

So, Who Is In Trouble?

Domestic violence incidents with conflicting stories are complex. The incident involving Chapman and her boyfriend happened in Hawaii and will be handled under their laws and guidelines. In Florida, domestic violence is defined under Florida Statute 741.28 as:

“Any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

Domestic charges can lead to penalties such as:

  • Probation
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Loss of rights such as a concealed carry permit
  • Enrollment in Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
  • No contact orders

At this time, Cecily isn’t facing any of these consequences. The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is not pressing charges, so the matter is considered resolved.

But, if the case was moving forward, would self-defense work?

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Making a Case for Self-Defense

In Florida, there are laws that protect individuals from prosecution if they harm someone in an act to protect themselves. How this directly applies to Cecily’s case is complicated.

Florida has a set of laws known as  “stand your ground” laws. These statutes permit the use of deadly force if someone, “reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

Cecily’s case likely wouldn’t have met the standard for “stand your ground” as it did not immediately appear that her life was at risk.

But, she could have still used a self-defense claim in Florida. To prove her claim, she would have needed to show that she faced an imminent threat, she did not provoke the threat, and that another reasonable person would have acted in the same manner.

Domestic disputes are often a case of “he said/she said.” It can be difficult to prove what really happened without concrete evidence or witness statements. If Cecily wanted to claim self-defense, she would need to have evidence.

At this time, neither Cecily nor her boyfriend will have the burden of proving their side of the story as the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is not pressing charges.

Related: Will “Stand Your Ground” Get Former FSU Receiver Travis Rudolph Out of Murder Charges?

Work with an Attorney Who Will Fight to Protect You

If you have been involved in a domestic violence incident, make sure you have a criminal defense attorney who will collect all of the facts and get to the truth of what really happened. If you have questions or concerns about criminal charges, talk to TJ Grimaldi.

TJ Grimaldi is committed to getting to the truth and driving the best possible outcomes for his clients. If you need assistance, contact us today. Request your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.


There was a time when the phrase “Brangelina” filled people with interest, intrigue, and maybe, even a bit of jealousy. But, now when people hear about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, one of the things that comes to mind isn’t their romantic Hollywood relationship, but instead, their contentious child custody case.

For years, Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie have been battling over the custody of their six children, and it may be getting even more complicated.

The Brangelina Backstory

Pitt and Jolie met on the set of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2004 when Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. Reports swirled that Pitt and Jolie were having an affair. Pitt and Aniston filed for divorce in March 2005, and it wasn’t long before Pitt and Jolie were considered an item. Almost ten years and six children later, they got married in 2014.

Pitt and Jolie’s marriage didn’t last long, and they filed for divorce in 2016. They were legally separated in April 2019, but the details of their child custody have continued to be an issue.

When Jolie filed for divorce, she requested primary custody of the six children: Maddox (19), Pax (17), Zahara (16), Shiloh (15), and twins Knox and Vivienne (12).

The Pitt-Jolie Child Custody Case

After the divorce filing, there was child abuse investigation into Pitt after an alleged incident between Pitt and Maddox took place on the family’s private plane. It was investigated by The LA Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI, but there were no charges.

Shortly after, in January 2017, the couple hired a private judge and signed agreements to keep the details of their case private. Jolie had primary physical custody of the children, and it seemed the case was beginning to wrap up.

But it wasn’t long before things began to escalate again. A few months after a court ordered the kids to spend more time with Pitt, Jolie accused Pitt of not paying “meaningful” child support. In late 2020, Jolie filed documents saying that three of the children wanted to testify against Pitt.

Yet, in May 2021, the privately hired judge issued a tentative custody order providing joint custody of the children.

But, the disputes didn’t end here.

The Next Phase of The Custody Battle

Jolie has been trying to have the private judge hired to manage the case removed. Once she found out the judge had business relationships with Pitt’s team, she filed to have him disqualified. Up until recently, she had been able to remove him and was bound by his decisions.

But, in July 2021, a California appeals court agreed that the private judge should be disqualified, according to CBS News. This change gave Jolie back full-time custody of the kids. Now, Pitt is filing a petition of his own to review the case and possibly have the decision reversed.

This could mean that the child custody case will not find a simple and final resolution.

Understanding Child Custody Agreements

When parents split custody of a child (because the couple is getting a divorce, breaking up, or has never been a couple), they create a custody agreement that addresses multiple types of child custody that are usually in place until a child turns 18.

  • Legal custody grants one or both parents the right to make legal decisions for the child as it relates to the child’s healthcare, religion, and education.
  • Physical custody grants one or both parents the right to have the child live with them and care for them on a day-to-day basis.
  • Sole custody may be awarded to one parent for legal custody, physical custody, or both.
  • Joint custody splits the rights of parents as it relates to legal custody, physical custody, or both.

To determine a child custody agreement, parents typically have three options.

  1. They can work together to develop a plan. In some cases, the courts don’t need to be involved and families can file a plan on their own. (Review our Guide to Florida Family Law Forms to see how parents can establish a custody plan on their own.)
  2. The parents can work with a third-party mediator to develop an agreement.
  3. If no agreement can be made outside of the court or with a mediator, the parents can go to court where a judge makes the final decisions.

In the case of Pitt and Jolie, they are at the mercy of the decisions of the judge so their case may continue to bounce around the court system with filings and appeals until both Pitt and Jolie are satisfied with the decisions or until all of the children turn 18.

Related: How Did Lamar Odom End Up Owing $380K in Child Support?

Have More Questions About Child Custody?

Child custody cases can be both confusing and contentious. But, they don’t have to be. The right family law attorney can guide you through the process and take steps to make the situation as easy as possible for everyone involved.

If you have questions about child custody, we’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation to talk with family law attorney, TJ Grimalid about an upcoming child custody case. All consultations are free so contact us today to find out how TJ can guide you and your family through the legal custody process.

Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

In 2015, Travis Rudolph was making a name for himself at Florida State University where he was the leading receiver. Later, he established himself even more by playing for the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins.

But now, Rudolph, 25, is trying to defend his name by using a “stand your ground” defense in a case where he is charged with first-degree murder.

What Happened on April 6th?

The details of what happened on the night of April 6th, 2021 are pieced together through multiple witness statements, a probable cause affidavit, and a court filing that shares Rudolph’s account of the night.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Rudolph and his girlfriend had a fight earlier in the night of April 6th. The girlfriend told deputies the fight turned physical. Rudolph said his girlfriend hit him on the head with a tequila bottle and broke his phone and video game system.

After she left, Rudolph’s girlfriend began contacting people about what happened. She reportedly texted a friend and told him to go to Rudolph’s and “shoot his s–t up.” She also reportedly told Rudolph’s sister that she was going to send someone to kill Rudolph.

Around midnight, the girlfriend’s friend, along with three other men, drove to Rudolph’s house to confront him. Rudolph says he believed one of the men was in a gang, so before he went outside, he set his AR-15 next to the door.

The encounter immediately turned contentious. The affidavit stated that Rudolph was “immediately combative and confrontational.” Rudolph says he acted when one of the men pointed a firearm at him and his friend. Rudolph went inside and got his gun. He shot at the men, killing one and injuring another.

Deputies arrived on the scene and arrested Rudolph on one charge of first-degree murder with a firearm and three charges of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

A Case of Self Defense?

On the surface, it seems pretty clear that Rudolph shot and killed one man and injured another. But the question of whether or not he should be punished for these crimes is yet to be determined.

Rudolph’s attorney, Marc Shiner, is claiming that the incident was in self-defense. He is invoking “stand your ground” laws as Rudolph’s legal defense.

If convicted of first-degree murder with a firearm, Rudolph would face the death penalty or life in prison. He is hoping to avoid such a severe sentence by claiming that the murder occurred while he was fearing for his life.

Rudolph’s attorney has scheduled a “stand your ground” hearing for November 8th, 2021.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

What Does It Mean to “Stand Your Ground” in Florida?

In Florida, there are a set of laws that are referred to as “stand your ground.”

The laws come from Florida Statute Sections 776.012 and 776.013. Statute 776.012 describes the law as:

“A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”

In most states, there is a “duty to retreat” if a person feels their life in danger. If a person is threatened with bodily harm, they must make a reasonable attempt to escape before using deadly force. That is not the case in Florida.

In Florida, if someone feels their life is at stake, they can use deadly force to protect themself.

That is the claim that Rudolph is hoping to make.

Related: 7 Years Later, Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case Still Waiting for Trial 

Claiming Self-Defense in a Criminal Case

Whether or not Rudolph’s case will be deemed a situation for “stand your ground” will remain to be seen.

At the pretrial hearing, Rudolph’s criminal defense attorneys will have an opportunity to make their case in the hope that Rudolph will receive immunity, in which case the charges will be dropped. If Rudolph’s team fails to get the outcome they want at the pretrial hearing, they can use self-defense as a defense at trial. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Do you have questions about an upcoming criminal case? Do you need a criminal defense attorney who can help you explore your options to get the best possible outcome for your case? Talk to criminal defense attorney, TJ Grimaldi today. All consultations are free so contact our team today. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

Anyone who finds themself in legal trouble might be worried about fines, probation, or jail time. They probably wouldn’t expect a judge to sentence them to watching a television show. But, that’s what happened in one Florida case… kind of.

The Inciting Incident

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Luis Orlando Santos Santiago, 56, was leaving his home in Seffner, Florida, when he saw a Black teenager on a bicycle with a backpack.

Santiago pulled up to the teenager and began questioning him about what he was doing in the neighborhood. The man asked the teen to give him his exact address, which he did, but it wasn’t enough for Santiago.

Santiago started filming the teen, stepped out of the car, and called 911 to report that he had caught someone breaking into cars.

The video and the recording of the call both show that Santiago was convinced the teen was committing a crime, while having no proof. As reported by Tampa Bay Time, Santiago is heard saying, “I got it on video.” After the teen says something in the background, Santiago says to him, “Because you can’t be breaking into people’s places. We got you on video. So relax. Relax.”

The teen was neither relaxed nor committing a crime.

False Accusations Lead to False Imprisonment

The teen, who hasn’t been identified by name, was on his way to athletic practice. His backpack held a basketball, gym shoes, and jump rope.

There was no evidence that he had been breaking into cars. The neighborhood had no reports of crimes that day. In fact, there had been no reports of crime in that neighborhood in the first half of 2020.

Knowing that he was innocent wasn’t enough to make the teen feel safe. Police said the teen had his hands raised and was hyperventilating when they arrived. The teen told officers he thought Santiago had a gun because the man kept putting his hand near his pocket.

In a statement later released by the teen’s mother, she explains how stressful the situation was for her son.

“As an African American mother, we have to have difficult conversations with our Black sons, about defusing situations, about keeping your hands up if you are stopped, and complying even if you did nothing wrong,” the statement read.

Related: 7 Years Later, Movie Theater “Stand Your Ground” Case Still Waiting for Trial 

The Consequences of False Imprisonment Charges

Santiago thought he was going to get the teen in legal trouble, and instead, found himself with a charge of his own.

Santiago was arrested and charged with false imprisonment.

In Florida, “false imprisonment” is defined by Florida Statute 787.02 as “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.”

It carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison, five years probation, and $5,000 in fines.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

The Details of Santiago’s Plea Deal

In the end, Santiago made a plea deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to a single charge of assault with prejudice, a lesser charge than false imprisonment.

As part of the plea deal, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Santiago:

  • Must complete an anger management and implicit bias course
  • Write an apology letter to the teen
  • Complete 25 hours of community service — which can include watching the Netflix documentary, 13th.

Hillsborough Circuit, Judge Lyann Goudie, saw this incident as a case of racial profiling, which is why she encouraged Santiago to use some of his community service time watching the Netflix documentary, 13th.

Watching a Movie as Part of Sentencing?

13th is a 2016 documentary that explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. Goudie thinks Santiago has something to learn from the movie.

“It is a very enlightening view of the Black experience in the United States of America,” Goudie said. “Unfortunately for Black people, this is a common occurrence. Which is why everyone is protesting. Rightfully so.”

While Goudie urged Santiago to watch the documentary, she didn’t sentence him to watching it. 

He can choose to watch it to earn community service hours or choose to do a different activity.

It’s not clear whether or not Santiago will watch the documentary as his attorney insists that the incident wasn’t a case of racial profiling.

The teen mother sees it differently. In her statement, she says, “This is absurd, but unfortunately necessary in our community. I hope people hear this and change the narrative of judging young Black men. My son is an intelligent, well-respected college athlete with a bright future ahead of him.”

Understanding the Potential Legal Consequences of a Criminal Case

If you have questions about possible sentencing in a criminal case, talk to an attorney right away. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand what potential consequences you face and work with you to ensure that there is a fair and just outcome.

Get legal advice for your case today. Talk to TJ Grimaldi. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

Back in 2002, when Kelly Clarkson was making her television debut as an unknown contestant on American Idol, it probably would have shocked her to know that in her lifetime, she would make more than $200,000 per month — let alone be legally required to pay $200,000 per month.

But, that is the situation the singer has found herself in after a judge ordered her to pay close to $200,000 per month to her soon-to-be ex-husband.

How did Clarkson end up with this monthly payment? And, will she have to make these payments forever?

How Clarkson’s Impending Divorce Led to $200,000 Monthly Payments

In June 2020, Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband of seven years, Brandon Blackstock. The couple has been battling out the terms of their divorce ever since.

The most recent updates to the case include a judge’s order, made in July 2021, for Clarkson to make payments to Blackstock for close to $200,000 per month. 

Of that sum, $150,000 is to cover spousal support. Another $45,601 is for child support, as reported by PEOPLE. Clarkson and Blackstock have two children, ages seven and five. The order also required Clarkson to pay $1.25 million to cover Blackstock’s attorney’s fee. Not including the attorney’s fees, the total payments come out to roughly $2.4 million per year. 

This is less money than Blackstock is said to have sought from Clarkson. PEOPLE also reported that Blackstock was seeking $436,000 per month.

Both numbers may seem high, but court documents reveal that Clarkson earns $1.5 million per month, which is likely what was used to determine the sums.

Related: How Did Lamar Odom End Up Owing $380K in Child Support? 

Determining Child Support and Alimony Payments

Clarkson’s high monthly income is why both the alimony and child support payments are high. The divorce case is being litigated in California so it abides by the laws and rules of that state.

In Florida, there are formulas and standards that are used to determine both fair child support and alimony payments.

For child support, Florida follows an “Income Share Model” when determining payments, which is defined in Florida Statute 61.30. It considers the amount of money that would have been spent on the children if the couple stayed together and divides the amount between the two parents based on income.

While Clarkson has primary physical custody of the kids, her high income likely factored into her high child support payments.

The formula for alimony isn’t as clear in Florida. There are many factors that show “need and ability” which a court uses to decide on a sum. The factors include:

  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of marriage
  • The financial assets and income of each spouse
  • The earning capabilities of each spouse
  • Time necessary for each spouse to be able to find appropriate employment

With Clarkson’s reported monthly income of $1.5 million, the sum of $200,000 per month doesn’t seem so high. And, luckily for Clarkson, she will not be required to make these payments forever.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

Clarkson’s Temporary Alimony Order

Clarkson and Blackstock have been in their divorce battle since June of 2020, but it might be coming to an end soon — and so may the alimony payments.

The recent order for alimony and child support is a temporary order that lasts until their divorce is finalized. 

The actual amount may change when the divorce is over, and the divorce just got one step closer to ending.

Recently, a judge upheld Clarkson and Blackstock’s prenup. Blackstock has been contesting the prenup that gave Clarkson all of the assets and income she acquired during their marriage. Blackstock was fighting to split their accumulated properties, but a judge denied his request.

This decision takes the divorce one step closer to being finalized. The couple will still need to determine a final amount for alimony and child support payments. It is expected that the child support payment of $50,000 per month will remain in place, but that the alimony payment will be cut to a smaller monthly sum.

Clarkson seems eager to make their separation legal. She has asked a judge to sign off on the divorce, declare her legally single, and restore her maiden name.

Related: The 9 Things Not To Do During a Divorce Case

Get Help with Alimony and Child Support

Determining alimony and child support can be a contentious issue. If you are going through a divorce or relationship split, make sure you have a family law attorney or divorce attorney who will fight to ensure that you get a fair outcome that works for you and your family.

Talk to someone today. Contact TJ Grimaldi to see how he can help you navigate the complexities of alimony and child support agreements. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023.

Andy Dick is most well-known for his comedy roles, but he is gaining notoriety in another way. His long list of legal troubles is becoming more tied to his name than his stand-up shows and movies. Most recently, Dick made headlines when he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

What happened to lead to this recent charge, and what potential consequences can you expect from an assault charge like this?

The Details of Andy Dick’s Assault Charge

On June 26, 2021, Dick was arrested in Hollywood for felony assault with a deadly weapon.

It is reported by Page Six that Dick got into a physical altercation with Lucas Crawford, a man who is said to have had an intimate relationship with Dick. The two men were joking around, play-fighting when it turned serious.

Dick claims that Crawford body-slammed him, broke his femur and ankle, and caused damage to his tendons and ligaments. At that time, Dick says he responded in self-defense by grabbing a metal chair, throwing it in Crawford’s direction, and hitting him.

Crawford was taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital, and Dick was later arrested.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Dick’s Troubled Past

This recent incident is added to a list of legal troubles and bad behavior from Dick.

Dick, who has publicly battled with sobriety, has had run-ins with the law that include drug possession, indecent exposure, and multiple sexual assault and groping charges. While a few charges were dropped or dismissed, a drug charge resulted in three years probation, and a sexual assault charge led to a civil suit resulting in unspecified damages awarded to the victims.

As of now, the recent assault charge has left Dick with a $50,000 bail which was paid, and Dick was released from jail.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

The Consequences of Assault and Battery Charges

The assault incident involving Dick took place in Hollywood and will abide by California law. The consequences will be based on statutes outlined in California laws.

In Florida, the rules on assault and battery are outlined in Chapter 784.

Assault is defined as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.” It is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree and can result in:

  • Probation up to sixty days
  • Fines up to $500
  • Up to sixty days in jail

Aggravated assault is defined as assault that includes the use of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony. It is a felony of the third degree and can result in:

  • Probation up to five years
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Up to five years in prison

Battery is defined as when a person “actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.” It is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree and can result in:

  • Probation up to one year
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Up to a year in prison

If Dick’s incident had happened in Florida, he could be facing an aggravated assault charge, as it was deemed that he used a deadly weapon against Crawford. Dick may have also been charged with battery as he seemed to intentionally cause bodily harm to another person.

At this time, Dick’s charges stand with a felony assault with a deadly weapon in the California court system.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Get a Criminal Defense Attorney for Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and battery charges are serious. They can result in fines, probation, and jail time. If you or someone you know has been arrested for or accused of assault and battery, talk to a criminal defense attorney right away.

An experienced attorney can guide you through a misdemeanor or felony charge to ensure that your case is processed fairly and that you reach a just outcome. Act quickly to protect yourself, especially if you feel you have been unjustly charged.

Get help today. Contact criminal defense attorney, TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023.

Former NBA player Lamar Odom recently ended up in the news for two reasons. He took on Aaron Carter in a celebrity boxing match, reportedly bringing in a $40,000 paycheck, and he was ordered to pay more than $380,000 in child support to the mother of his two adult children.

So, how did Odom end up owing so much in child support for his two grown children?

Odom’s Child Support Agreement

It may seem surprising that Odom owes so much in child support for two grown children. Destiny Odom is 23, and Lamar Odom Jr. is 19. But, the details of the situation explain why he was ordered to pay such a large sum to the mother of his children.

In May 2021, Liza Morales sued Odom for failing to pay child support. She alleged that he hadn’t paid support since June 2020. 

Morales’ lawyers said Odom owed $91,000 in child support and that he was behind on paying for college costs and rent for the apartment Morales shared with the children in Lower Manhattan. Morales claimed the lack of funds put her in a position where she owed $83,000 in rent and was facing eviction.

Odom is required to make child support payments to Morales as part of an original agreement made in 2015. At that time, it was agreed that Odom would pay roughly $6,000 a month in child support, along with the children’s college fees and a premium for a $9 million life insurance plan, according to Page Six.

The agreement wasn’t a spousal support agreement. Odom was never married to Morales. The agreement was a child support agreement.

The agreement stated that Odom would pay support until his youngest child graduated from college. Both of Odom’s kids are over the age of 18, but he is still required to make his support payments.

At the hearing, Morales pointed out that Odom has the money to pay. She claims he has an NBA pension and a financial stake in a CBD company, and he just was paid $40,000 for participating in the celebrity boxing match against Aaron Carter.

After the virtual hearing in Manhattan, Supreme Court Judge Matthew Cooper agreed that Odom needed to pay.

He ordered Odom to pay Morales $380,549 for child support, back rent, college costs, and her legal fees, according to a new report by Page Six. The judge also ordered Odom to fund a life insurance policy worth $1 million and name his ex as the beneficiary.

Related: Types of Child Custody and What They Mean for Your Family 

Understanding How Child Support Works

Odom is legally bound by his child support agreement and is therefore required to make payments. Odom’s family law matter was held in the New York state court system and must abide by the laws of that state.

In Florida, the situation would have likely ended in the same result.

When it comes to child support, Florida follows an “Income Share Model” when determining how much child support a parent must pay. It is defined in Florida Statute 61.30.

  • The court considers how much money the parents would have spent on the children if they had remained married.
  • They divide the amount between the two parents based on income.
  • The court may set the amount 5% above or 5% under the amount determined through this formula.
  • If the court wants to set an amount that is more than 5% above or less than 5% lower, they must submit a written finding that explains why.

In Florida, if Odom had the funds to pay the amount determined by the Income Share Model, he would be required to pay.

Some child support cases are closed once children turn 18. But in the Odom case, his agreement stated that he would pay until both children graduated from college. He is required by law to make the child support payments.

Related: The Legal Implications of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Divorce 

Get Support for Your Child Support Claims

The most important part of a child support case is the children. It’s important that they have what they need to be safe and cared for.

If you are dealing with a child support case and want to ensure that your children get what they deserve, talk to an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate child support and custody agreements.

Get family law advice today. Schedule a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi. See how TJ and his team can help you and your family get what you deserve. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

Jared Drake Bell is known to many families and kids as one half of the “Drake & Josh” duo from the hit Nickelodeon show which began airing in 2004. Drake Bell was known for entertaining kids. Now, he may be known for endangering them.

The now 35-year-old actor recently plead guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

How did Bell go from entertaining kids to endangering them, and what does that mean for his future as a free man?

The Case Against Drake Bell

In October 2018, a 15-year-old girl contacted police in Toronto, Canada to report an incident that happened between her and Bell in December 2017.

The victim, who is now 19-years-old, told investigators that she and Bell had engaged in sexual conduct at a concert venue in Cleveland, Ohio. She told investigators she had a relationship with Bell that started when she was just 12. She believed Bell had been “grooming” her since she was a child, keeping in touch with her until eventually sharing explicit photos and becoming “blatantly sexual” with her after she turned 15.

The information that Toronto investigators uncovered led them to forward their findings to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio.

Under that jurisdiction, Bell, who is a California resident, was eventually charged for the incident occurring at the Cleveland concert. He was charged with felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

Drake Bell’s Changing Pleas

Bell originally pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney Ian Friedman disputed the girl’s claims that Bell sent her explicit photos and engaged in sexual conduct with her. Bell seemed to want to fight the charges with Friedman stating, “All facts will be revealed in a courtroom.”

But, Bell eventually changed his plea.

Bell plead guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

“I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” Bell said. “I’m sorry the victim was harmed. It was not my intention. I have taken this matter very, very seriously, and again I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.”

Related: What You Should Expect from Your Attorney in Every Case

What Consequences Does Bell Face?

Bell’s case was held in the Ohio court system. Under Ohio law, child endangerment can come with a range of penalties. Depending on the severity of the charges, penalties can range from a few months to a few years in prison as well as resulting in community service hours, fines, and probation.

But, Bell will face no prison time.

He was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by Judge Timothy McCormick to two years probation, 200 hours of community service, and have no contact with the victim.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Taking a Plea Deal But Not Accepting Full Responsibility

While Bell may have faced less serious consequences by admitting fault and acknowledging some wrong-doing, his attorney continued to state that the charges weren’t warranted.

In a statement to NBC News, Friedman said, “The victim’s allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed, not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation. As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor.”

Regardless of what Friendman said after the hearing, Bell admitted to wrong-doing by making his guilty plea and will face the consequences laid out by the judge.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

How Serious Are Child Endangerment Charges?

In Bell’s case, it was said that he “violated his duty of care” for the young fan.

Child endangerment laws punish behavior that can endanger a child’s life, health, or emotional well-being. They refer to a range of activities that put a person under the age of 18 at risk. Child endangerment charges can relate to activities such as:

  • Driving a car while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle
  • Exposing a child to drug transactions
  • Failing to secure a child in a car seat properly
  • Having unsecured firearms near a child
  • Leaving a child without supervision

There does not need to be intent in child endangerment cases. If a child is harmed or could have been harmed by the adult’s actions, the adult can face legal consequences. Child endangerment is a serious charge and can lead to serious consequences. If you have any questions about a criminal case, talk to an experienced defense attorney who can help you understand the full scope of the charges and potential outcomes.

Get answers and advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Schedule a free consultation with T.J. Grimaldi. Request your free consultation or call 813-226-1023.

Many people were confused on June 30, 2021, when Bill Cosby walked out of prison a free man. After dozens of allegations of sexual assault and a guilty verdict, it seemed impossible that Cosby would be able to leave prison so fast. What happened?

What Was Cosby Convicted Of?

Cosby was one of the most visible men accused of sexual misconduct and assault during the early days of the #MeToo movement. More than 45 women have come out to talk about their experiences with Cosby.

While dozens of women publicly shared their harrowing stories — many of them accusing Cosby of drugging and raping them — only one case led to criminal charges and a guilty verdict.

Andrea Constand accused Cosby of coming to her home in 2004 and drugging and sexually assaulting her. During the trial, five other accusers testified that they had similar experiences with Cosby.

Cosby denied all allegations and maintained his innocence, but the courts sided with Constand.

In September 2018, Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand. Cosby was fined $25,000, required to cover the costs of the prosecution (at least $43,000), and sentenced to three to ten years in state prison.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

Why Did Cosby Get Released Early?

So, why did Cosby walk free less than three years from the date of his conviction?

Cosby wasn’t released early due to serving his time. While Cosby was coming up on three years of his three to ten-year sentence, he wasn’t released due to serving his time.

Cosby wasn’t released early due to parole or good behavior. Cosby had an opportunity to participate in a sex offender program that could have helped reduce his time in prison. Cosby refused to participate in the program, reportedly saying it would require him to admit wrongdoing, and he wasn’t willing to do that even if it meant serving the full ten years.

Cosby was released because his conviction was thrown out of the court. Pennsylvania’s highest court ruled that Cosby should have never been charged in this case.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

Why Was Cosby’s Case Thrown Out?

In 2005, the district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Bruce L. Castor Jr. released a press release stating that he was not going to charge Cosby in the criminal matter related to Constand.

Constand pursued a civil case against Cosby. In that matter, Cosby sat for depositions, at which he admitted that in the past he had given quaaludes to women in an effort to have sex with them, as reported by the New York Times.

The civil case led to Cosby paying a $3.38 million settlement to Constand. The civil matter ended there, but the criminal matter did not.

A new district attorney in Montgomery County, Kevin R. Steele decided to reverse the previous district attorney’s decision. Steele proceeded with charging Cosby in criminal court in the Constant matter. The deposition Cosby gave in the Constand civil case was used during the criminal proceedings.

These are the details that led to Cosby’s early release.

Cosby’s criminal defense team argued to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that Cosby’s rights had been violated. The district attorney’s office promised not to charge him, then eventually did charge him and used testimony that Cosby gave when he believed he could not be criminally charged.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with Cosby’s defense team.

“We hold that, when a prosecutor makes an unconditional promise of non-prosecution, and when the defendant relies upon that guarantee to the detriment of his constitutional right not to testify, the principle of fundamental fairness that undergirds due process of law in our criminal justice system demands that the promise be enforced,” wrote Justice David Norman Wecht.

With that ruling, the criminal case against Cosby was dropped, his sentence was vacated, and he was released from prison.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

What Happens Next?

There will be no new trial. The ruling includes language that makes it impossible for the district attorney to bring new criminal charges against Cosby in the Constand matter.

Prosecutors could appeal the decision and ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision. It’s not clear whether prosecutors will pursue this option.

This ruling doesn’t impact other cases that could be brought against Cosby.

The immunity from the recent ruling only applies to the Constand matter, and charges related to Cosby’s other accusers could still be filed and tried. Yet, due to the statute of limitations, it is unlikely that other accusers will be able to bring their cases against Cosby to criminal courts.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Cosby Case Highlights the Importance of Following Court Procedures and Processes

Cosby’s case reflects how important it is to have a legal team that follows legal rules and standards. A failure to follow procedures can lead to major consequences in a case. A good criminal defense attorney understands and adheres to proper legal procedures to the highest degree.

Are you in need of the advice of a highly trained and experienced criminal defense attorney? Request your free consultation with TJ Grimaldi. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.