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Judge allows Chief Keef to travel to California for work and rehab

Updated: December 10, 2013 6:06AM



Once Chief Keef’s legal woes are over, his manager Dro Manuel envisions the Chicago rapper as “a spokesman for High Times,” the magazine dedicated to all things pot-related.

Later, after pushing a successful effort to legalize marijuana in Chicago, a member of his entourage identifying himself as Tadoe Savage said the crew wants to market their own potent strain of the plant called “Chief and Keef.”

But before those pipe dreams come to fruition, Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, must do 90 days at a cushy California rehab facility.

On Friday, a Cook County judge granted the embattled 18-year-old rapper permission to attend the drug treatment program — which his manager said cost $250,000 — in the Golden State, for violating his probation by testing positive for the drug.

It was just the latest legal trouble for Cozart, whose previous arrests involve pointing a gun at police, smoking marijuana in a Georgia hotel room, and driving 110 mph in a luxury car on the Edens Expressway, according to police and court records.

Cozart initially appeared before Judge Earl B. Hoffenberg on Wednesday in the Skokie courthouse for a traffic case. Cozart pleaded guilty to testing positive for marijuana while on probation, and Hoffenberg sentenced him to 90 days in treatment.

By Saturday morning, Cozart should be checked into Promises Treatment Centers, which has in-patient facilities in Malibu and west Los Angeles, according to his lawyers and the company’s website.

It’s the high-test Ferrari option when compared to his other choices – Chicago’s Haymarket Center or a stint in Cook County Jail.

“For what they’re charging, it better be legit,” Hoffenberg said of the facility, which offers “Expressive Art Therapy” as an activity.

If Cozart responds well to treatment during the first 30 days, he could be given permission to leave the rehab facility under supervision to record new music. The treatment plan has been endorsed by Cozart’s label, Interscope Records, his attorneys said in court.

However, Hoffenberg offered a stern warning to the rapper, who remained mostly silent during the proceedings: “My promise to you is that if you do not complete the program, you will spend the rest of your time in county jail.”

For Cozart’s entourage, the treatment plan means a stay in California, which his manager hopes will lead to productive work on new recordings.

“We’re going to California, we’re going out there to try to make some more music,” said Manuel, who also criticized the duration of Cozart’s court-ordered time in rehab.

“It’s too much time – the judge knows it, the prosecuting attorney knows it, our lawyers know it,” he said. “But it is what it is. He’s gonna make it through this.”

Whether or not Cozart – who once rapped “We smoke dope, all day, all night” – can avoid repeat visits to court, and potentially jail, depends on his ability to refrain from smoking pot and other drugs.

“The ball’s in his court,” said Barry Spector, one of Cozart’s three lawyers in court Friday. “If he can comply it’s going to turn out fine. But if he doesn’t, there’s going to be a bigger problem than the one we dealt with today.”

Email: bslodysko@suntimes.com

Twitter: @BrianSlodysko



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