Rick Ross claims self-defense in kidnapping, assault case

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. — Metro Atlanta resident and rapper Rick Ross appeared in a Fayette County courtroom Friday for a kidnapping and assault case.

Ross, also known as WIlliam Roberts, claims he was defending himself during an incident that resulted in his 2015 arrest.

Prosecutors charged the rapper and his personal manager, Nadrian James, with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and kidnapping after workers Leo Caceres and Jonathan Zamudio said the pair pistol-whipped and beat them at Ross’ house.

Ross and James asked the court for immunity from prosecution in 2016 because they said they were defending themselves that day, standing their ground, and that they never kidnapped the workers.

They finally got that immunity hearing Friday under Judge Fletcher Sams, who is the new presiding judge in the case.

She wants to restart the case. Ross and James are trying to get the entire case thrown out.

James said he never saw his boss attack anyone, and that the pair never kidnapped the workers whom they are accused of assaulting.

He said he got into a fight with one of the workers after discovering they had had several people over to his boss's guesthouse.


Prosecutors argued that Ross knew exactly who was on his property because he gave them permission to be there.

"They basically lived at the guesthouse full-time," the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor argued that Ross gave his groundskeepers permission to have family over for a birthday celebration. The group included at least two small children.

Prosecutors argue that Ross ran after one woman and her daughter who ran out during the dispute.

"They exit the guesthouse and the defendant, William Roberts, was waiving a gun at her as she was seated in the car with her child," the prosecutor said.

Ross' attorney described a totally different scenario.

He argued workers were injured in an attack because the rapper was caught off guard in the dark.

"He enters the guest house, which is his property. It's pitch black at this point. He calls out and no one responds. Mr. Ross is feeling his way against the wall and he reaches here and somebody touches him. He immediately reacts by reaching out and hitting him," Steve Sadow said. "(At that point) he orders everybody outside the house, says you can't be in here."

Surveillance video of the incident was played in court Friday.

Ross and James testified, maintaining the rapper acted in self-defense during the altercation.

Music producer and artist DJ Khaled was in the courtroom as well to show his support for the rapper.

During court, the judge warned Ross against posting about the case or the prosecutor on social media.

An attorney had a family emergency, which ended Friday's proceedings. They will return to court April 4.