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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Busta Rhymes Sued on Protein-Shake Assault

(CN) - An employee of a New York City gym is suing Busta Rhymes over the "injuries and serious emotional trauma" he says he suffered after the rapper struck him with a protein shake.

Rhymes, whose given name is Trevor Taheim Smith Jr., was arrested immediately after the Aug. 5, 2015 incident and charged with second-degree assault. He later agreed to plead guilty to harassment.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, tensions between Olegario Hernandez Gomez, an employee of Steel Gym, and Rhymes began the day before the assault when the two men argued about the rapper's bringing a cameraman into the Chelsea health club to film his workout.

The next day, Rhymes again went to the club and again got into an argument with Gomez. Both men agree that before things came to a head, Rhymes bought a protein shake.

The accounts the men later gave police varied as to the particulars, and even newspapers and magazines disagreed over whether Rhymes bought a chocolate or a strawberry-flavored shake.

The police said that as the two men argued, Rhymes splashed water on Gomez, who responded by splashing water back at him. Words were exchanged, and then Rhymes threw his protein shake at the employee, striking him in the head.

The police said Gomez's head was cut by the plastic bottle.

Rhymes lawyer, Scott Leemon, later told the New York Daily News, "It's ridiculous; it was literally a bottle of Muscle Milk. This is clearly an attempt by someone to take advantage of Busta. He did nothing wrong. This is a bunch of bull."

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Bronx Supreme Court, Gomez says he continues to suffer as a result of the incident and "believes that certain of his injuries are permanent."

In addition to Rhymes, he targets the production company the rapper founded, Conglomerate Entertainment, which he claims was negligent in employing the entertainer as CEO when it knew he had "violent propensities."

London's Daily Mail newspaper reported that Rhymes was arrested and charged with assault in August 2006, after he allegedly attacked a man for spitting on his car. The following February, he refused a plea deal for supposedly beating up his former driver.

Instead, he was sentenced in 2008 to three year's probation, 10 days of community service and to pay a $1,250 fine.

Gomez is represented by Joseph A. Montanile of Hausner & Montanile PLLC. Attorneys for the parties did not immediately respond to request for comment from Courthouse News.

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