Mos Def Testifies On Behalf Of Former Death Row Inmate

 Mos Def reportedly took the stand in a Chicago court yesterday (July 24) to testify for a former death row inmate who is convicted of trading guns and drugs after his release from prison.

According to the Associated Press, Mos (born Dante Terrell Smith) and various other people spoke on Aaron Patterson's behalf at a sentencing hearing Monday (July 23).

"He's definitely an asset to the community. He cares a great deal for his people," said Mos Def, who claims to have met Patterson five years ago at a symposium.

Patterson spent 13 years in prison on death row for a double murder he claims he didn't commit and alleges that Chicago homicide detectives framed and tortured him.

In January 2003, Patterson would be pardoned by then- Governor George Ryan who said there was no credible evidence against him. After his release, Patterson pledged to spend his life exposing police misconduct and corruption.

He filed a lawsuit against city and county officials who sent him to death row and refused a $4 million settlement offer from the city.

In 2005, a jury convicted Patterson on drug and gun charges. Prosecutors used witnesses and secretly made recordings to convince jurors that Patterson arranged several heroin sales to a government witness, sold marijuana, and illegally bought four guns, including a MAC-10 machine pistol.

Patterson claimed he had sought to buy replicas not real guns. His attorneys told jurors he was investigating wrongdoing by law enforcement officials and ended up being set up by the officials he'd been investigating.

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year term for Patterson and also claim he coordinated gang activities from prison.

Stay tuned for more information as case develops.

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