The actor-rapper intends to fight charges stemming from an alleged club incident

By Stephen M. Silverman
August 31, 2004 04:00 PM

Ja Rule pleaded not guilty on Monday to assault charges stemming from an alleged incident at a Toronto nightclub earlier this summer.

The rapper-actor made the plea through his attorney, Steven Skurka, the Associated Press reports. A pretrial hearing has been set for Oct. 6, with the case expected to get underway in early 2005.

Following Monday’s plea, the lawyer told reporters: “You can underline that three times. … There’s no celebrity justice here. You don’t get treated differently in this country if your name is Martha, Michael or Ja Rule. Everyone is treated the same,” MTV reports.

The 28-year-old Ja Rule (born Jeffrey Atkins) had been shooting scenes for his upcoming film Assault on Precinct 13 with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne when he was charged with causing bodily harm during an alleged June 5 incident at the La Rouge nightclub in the Canadian city’s entertainment district.

No further details have been released because of a gag order in the case. The rapper, who is a New Jersey resident, is free on $7,575 bail.

In July he also was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license. The possession charge was later dropped.