Jelani Maraj Accused Of Repeatedly Raping A Tween Girl
Nicki Minaj’s brother has unexpectedly fired his white shoe law firm in his child rape case, even though the lawyers have spent months negotiating on his behalf.
Maraj announced Tuesday in Nassau County Court’s sex crimes division that Andrea Zellan and Benjamin Brafman would no longer be representing him as he fights for his freedom in the Nassau County Prosecutor’s Case against him, which accuses Maraj of repeated rape and sodomy of a 12 year old over a period of eight months last year. Instead, criminal defense lawyer David Schwartz will now rep Maraj in the case.
Brafman and Zellan had served as Nicki Minaj’s oldest brother’s counsel since he was arrested in December 2015, and the pair, along with Maraj, had been attending almost weekly conferences with the judge in the case over the last six months.
And although it’s not clear why Maraj abruptly canned them, he may not have liked the way the way the case was going after prosecutors matched his DNA to semen on his accuser’s pants and offered him a plea deal of 15 years to life.
Minaj meanwhile, has stood by her brother, using two homes she bought as collateral to keep him out of jail and is believed to be paying for his legal defense and a private investigator.
Schwartz, a lawyer out of Long Island, specializes in sex crimes cases, and according to his website, has successfully negotiated plea agreements in sex crime cases, got a high school student accused of several sex crimes off the hook and was able to settle a sex abuse suit involving a business owner and his employee.
Maraj is due back in court in January 2017.
We’ve reached out to Maraj’s former lawyers and his new one for comment.