Court battle over Pitchfork Media video showing rapper Chief Keef with a rifle
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 20, 2012 6:40PM
Chicago rapper Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart.
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:26AM
Chief Keef’s legal troubles have sparked a First Amendment fight between Cook County prosecutors and a Chicago-based Internet music publication.
Keef, a popular rapper whose real name is Keith Cozart, is facing a possible return to juvenile jail for violating the terms of his probation on a gun conviction.
On Tuesday, Judge Carl Anthony Walker heard lawyers’ First Amendment arguments over a video that Pitchfork Media posted online showing Keef holding a rifle.
Keef, 17, is serving 18 months of probation for pointing a gun at a Chicago cop. He was barred from handling firearms as a condition of his probation.
Keef was in the video — made at a New York gun range in June — just three days after the judge warned him not to handle guns, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors, who intend to use the video to show the judge that Keef violated his probation, aren’t satisfied with the online version.
They’re seeking the original copy, but Pitchfork Media, which produced the video, says the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act allows the company to withhold it.
“This pushes the envelope to the edge of harassment,” said Pitchfork attorney Travis Life, saying prosecutors can establish Keef was holding a gun through other means such as putting witnesses on the stand.
The judge said he needs to consider the lawyers’ First Amendment arguments and scheduled another hearing on Dec. 5.