After a lengthy process of arrests and extraditions, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman while on tour in Vienna last year. Gibbs was first arrested in France in June, released from French jail on bail, and then extradited to Austria earlier this month.
Gibbs has been officially charged with “sexual abuse of a defenseless or psychologically impaired person,” according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the court where Gibbs will be tried in Vienna stated that “he is alleged to have administered knock-out drops to a woman and then have abused her sexually while she was in a defenseless state.”
The rapper’s Vienna-based lawyer, Thomas Kralik, stringently denies any violation of law, claiming that Gibbs had no sexual contact with the accuser at all, had nothing to do with spiking her drink, and was never formally notified of the charges against him until today. Gibbs’ US lawyer, Theodore Simon, released this statement: “While Freddie Gibbs was charged with an offense today, it remains only an allegation, and it does not in any way change the actual facts that Freddie Gibbs is 100 percent innocent.”
If convicted, Gibbs is looking at a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
UPDATE: Gibbs has posted bail and been released from custody, according to the Associated Press. He paid $57,000 (or 50,000 euros) and had to give up his passport and agree not leave the country.
UPDATE 2: Gibbs’ lawyer has issued the following statement (via Mass Appeal):
Freddie Gibbs was released today on bail. We believe this is the first step toward his eventual exoneration and vindication. We are pleased and thankful that the Court recognized the same trust and confidence we have in Freddie that justified his release. Immediately after his release I spoke with Freddie who expressed his heartfelt appreciation and thanks for the overwhelming outpouring of support he has received. Yesterday’s charge remains only an allegation, and it does not in any way change the actual facts that Freddie Gibbs is 100% innocent. As he has done with his bail request, he continues to pursue every available means to demonstrate that he is absolutely innocent and that he has been both belatedly and wrongly accused. As the investigation and process continues, Mr. Gibbs remains hopeful that a thorough, searching and complete investigation will reveal the actual facts, including the absence of any scientific, physical, or credible evidence implicating him, thereby paving the way for his exoneration and return to his family and one-year old child. In accordance with Austrian procedure Mr. Gibbs has not as yet had the opportunity to provide the authorities and the Court with the substantial and compelling exonerating evidence that he has compiled. Through counsel Mr. Freddie Gibbs has consistently remained fully cooperative with law enforcement offices and judicial systems in both France and Austria and will continue to do so.