2007_07_arts_busta.jpgJust when we thought we couldn't possibly hear about more troubles for Busta Rhymes, he's now facing four separate trials in New York for past incidents. E Online recaps the rapper's rap sheet: "The first assault complaint was filed last summer by a 19-year-old man, who claims he was roughed up by the entertainer after spitting on Rhymes' SUV. The second complaint came from a 39-year-old man, reportedly Busta's former driver, who says he was beaten up by Rhymes last Christmas in a beef over money." The third and fourth charges are for driving drunk and driving with a suspended license.

The rapper (and, we suppose, "actor") faced Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Larry Stephen's yesterday, who refused a petition by the Manhattan DA's office to consolidate two pending assault cases. This was good news for Busta and his defense attorney Scott Leemon because it denied prosecutors "the chance to use the litany of charges to show jurors a pattern of behavior." We suppose that is why after the ruling, Rhymes gave Leemon a high-five and kissed a courtroom sketch artist on the cheek. However, now he's going to be seeing more of the courtroom than the recording studio, as each case will be tried separately, and at least two - consecutively.

While there is a chance the driving violations may be resolved with plea agreements, it would be unlikely as in past negotiations with prosecutors Rhymes (who has pleaded innocent to all charges) has rejected plea bargains that were offered. Some have speculated that the rapper is being unfairly targeted by New York police because he has refused to cooperate in the investigation of the death of his bodyguard, Israel Ramirez (Busta also blames the media). This murder took place outside of a Brooklyn warehouse where Rhymes was shooting a video, and is unsolved to this day (many assume the "no snitching" rule is firmly in place amongst Rhymes and his crew).

The next hearing for all four of Rhymes' cases is set for September 5th, but we have a feeling we'll be hearing from him before then.