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US hip hop designer ASAP Bari fined after admitting sex attack in London hotel

ASAP Bari, real name Jabari Shelton, arrives at the Old Bailey. Credit: PA/Kirsty O’Connor

A founder of the American hip hop group ASAP Mob has avoided jail for sexual assault after a video emerged of him attacking a woman at an east London hotel.

ASAP Bari, real name Jabari Shelton, 27, from Manhattan, New York, was fined £4,000 and told to pay £2,500 to his victim after he admitted assaulting her at The Curtain Hotel, in Shoreditch.

Sentencing him, Judge Zoe Smith QC said Shelton had a "very unpleasant attitude" towards women after she was shown footage of him pulling the covers from the naked woman as she lay in bed, before slapping her bottom as she told him to "stop".

He attacked her in the early hours of July 10 2017 after they both attended the Wireless Festival music event in Finsbury Park.

Shelton, who had been expected to plead not guilty, admitted one count of sexual assault against the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when he appeared in court on Thursday.

He was initially arrested last year but bailed in June 2018 after he paid a cash security of £25,000 to allow him to return to the United States, the court heard.

Judge Smith told Shelton: "The court does have concerns in this matter because it has exposed a very unpleasant attitude by you towards women."

She added: "You say that you were angry but there is no need to ever be so abusive and humiliating to a female."

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Shelton was also told to pay £2,000 costs and a restraining order was imposed which bans him contacting the woman or her parents, unless through a solicitor regarding other proceedings.

Judge Smith added: "No fine that I impose will compensate her for the humiliation that she has suffered."

Prosecuting, James Lofthouse said Shelton first approached his victim as she waited for a taxi after the festival.

Mr Lofthouse said: “He [Shelton] walked up to her and propositioned her, if I can put it that way. She said no.”

The court heard that the woman later went to the hotel with another man, named in court as AJ.

Mr Lofthouse went on: “She was then woken at around 4.30 or five in the morning, shortly after, by the defendant entering the bedroom.

“He seemed to react to her being present in bed with AJ.

ASAP Bari – real name Jabari Shelton – arrives at the Old Bailey Credit: PA/Kirsty O’Connor

“He pulled the duvet off and Your Honour has seen the footage of what occurred and indeed what was said.”

Shelton can be heard telling the woman: "B**** you f***ed my assistant, now suck my d***."

He also said, "Shut the f*** up b****", after she told him to stop.

Mr Lofthouse said: “She then moved hastily towards the bathroom. He slapped her naked buttocks as she did so and she was saying, ‘Honestly, Bari, no stop.'”

Police were later called to the hotel and the woman initially denied she had been assaulted, but she reported the assault several days later when footage emerged online.

Mr Lofthouse added: “The defendant flew back to America later that same morning. However, about three to four days later she (the victim) became aware through her mother that footage had been circulating on the internet.

“It’s that footage we have seen in court. Following that she of course got back in touch with the officer.”

Shelton’s barrister, Gideon Cammerman QC, told the court his client had already spent seven days in custody after his initial arrest.

Mr Cammerman said: “The publicity that this case has attracted has already caused very significant financial loss to him, the loss of very significant contracts and other matters.”

He added: “In the current climate, publicity of this sort is quite rightly toxic.”

The bearded fashion designer, who sported several tattoos across his shaved head, had arrived at the court wearing a ski mask to shield his face and a designer padded jacket.

He stood in the dock wearing a black suit and white shirt without a tie, along with a pair of Nike trainers, and showed little emotion as he admitted the charge.

Mr Cammerman said footage of the attack was shared online by “somebody who wanted to do him harm and has”.

Elaine Cousins, of the CPS, said: “Jabari Shelton clearly believed he was entitled to behave this way. He sexually assaulted his victim while she was in an extremely vulnerable position. He knew this was being recorded on a mobile phone.

“The footage and sound showed there could be no suggestion the victim had consented to this behaviour which was designed to degrade and humiliate.”

A second charge of sexual assault was made to lie on file.

Shelton later left court in a taxi, his face still covered.