HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — A New York rap artist sentenced to 75 years in prison after a deadly robbery at a New Jersey hotel had his sentence cut by at least 55 years on Friday.
Max B, whose real name is Charly Wingate, was re-sentenced by Bergen County Judge James Guida to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, attorney John Latoracca said.
Wingate, who collaborated with rappers including French Montana, Cam'ron, and Jim Jones before he was locked up, was convicted in June 2009 of felony murder, armed robbery and other offenses in a September 2006 robbery in Fort Lee. His conviction was vacated earlier this summer after his new lawyers argued his previous attorney had a conflict.
"I just want to thank you for the fair treatment, you know, looking into the situation to at least give me another opportunity to someday reunite with my children and my family," Wingate told the judge on Friday, NorthJersey.com reported .
In the original trial, prosecutors said Wingate, co-defendant Kevin Leerdam, and Wingate's ex-girlfriend — who took a plea deal and testified against the men — plotted to rob two men she had recently met. Gina Conway received a 15-year sentence.
Witnesses said during the trial that Leerdam and Conway barged into the room demanding money. David Taylor Jr. was fatally shot in the room. Wingate was not in Fort Lee when the shooting happened, but was charged as an accomplice.
Witnesses testified that Taylor and a friend had been seen in Harlem driving expensive cars and showing off cash in the days before the robbery.
Leerdam received a life term plus 35 years.
Wingate fought for post-conviction relief after his previous attorney convinced him to go to trial rather than accept a plea bargain that offered a 10-year sentence, Latoracca said. His attorneys argued that his previous attorney had a conflict of interest because he was also serving as his manager and entertainment lawyer.
"Given the factual basis of all that's going on in this case, we thought that the right, just resolution would be to enter into this plea agreement," Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Martin Delaney said on Friday.
Latoracca said Wingate will have to serve at least nine more years, unless his sentence is further reduced.
"It was basically a life sentence," Latoracca said. "Now it's just a matter of when for him before he returns to his family and friends and hopefully his career."
This story has been corrected to show that Wingate was not at the hotel at the time of the shooting.