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Rapper Cardi B pleads not guilty to strip club brawl charges

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New York (AFP)

Rap superstar Cardi B on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges including two felonies filed in connection with her alleged involvement in a New York strip club brawl.

"Not guilty sir; honor," the 26-year-old artist said before a packed courtroom in Queens, looking swank in a fitted, low-cut navy blue and pink double-breasted pant suit and razor-sharp straight bob.

The brash rapper appeared calm throughout the proceedings, her hands clasped behind her back, showing off her talon-esque hot pink nail extensions.

The arraignment came days after a grand jury indicted Cardi B in connection to the incident, with court documents showing 14 charges including two felonies against the rap superstar.

On August 29, 2018, Cardi B was in the Angels Strip Club in Queens when her group reportedly lobbed bottles, chairs and a hookah smoking device, which police said bruised a female employee in the legs.

Cardi B allegedly ordered an attack on two sisters working at the club because one of them slept with her husband, the rapper Offset.

Initially facing only misdemeanor charges, the Bronx rapper in April had rejected a plea deal from the Queens district attorney's office.

That offer would have given the Grammy winner conditional discharge if she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor.

The revamped charges include two felony counts of attempted assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the case docket.

The felony classification would not spell jail time, according to New York state law, but could result in probation that could impact Cardi B's heavy touring schedule.

"We don't believe that the indictment changes anything," her lawyer Jeff Kern told journalists outside the courthouse. "We understood that it was a possibility."

The rapper has also invited Drew Findling -- the so-called #BillionDollarLawyer who has made a name for himself representing hip-hop stars in Atlanta, Georgia, the de-facto capital of rap -- to join her legal team.

"I know Cardi; I know Cardi on a personal level," he said. "I know Cardi as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister. I know Cardi to be a decent and kind human being."

"We have no doubt that when all is said and done, there will be a positive outcome in favor of Cardi."

Born Belcalis Almanzar to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B's meteoric rise to fame sparked during her days as a stripper, when she carved out a social media personality on platforms including Instagram.

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