photo by Maurice G. Garland, September 2009
Everybody's been asking what's been up with this whole ordeal, but hell...I was about in the dark as the rest of ya'll were. Same way ya'll was getting all the info from Ceelo and Big Boi's twitter...so was I and the rest of us. But the homie Rodney Carmichael at Creative Loafing was able to get in contact with Khujo's lawyer to break down exactly whats been going on and what's about to happen...
After originally being sentenced to serve two years of a five year sentence, Willie Knighton Jr., aka Khujo Goodie, was freed today after a Henry County judge determined that one of his indictments was legally void. Big Boi and Goodie Mob members Cee-Lo and Big Gipp were all in attendance at today's hearing, and Big Boi testified on Khujo's behalf.
Turns out that Twitter has been the leading source of breaking news on this case, which had most Goodie Mob fans wondering what Khujo had done to provoke the long arm of the law in the first place.
In an effort to fill in the blanks, Creative Loafing called Knighton's lawyer Daniel Kane shortly after the news hit Twitter today.
According to Kane, Knighton had been serving time in a Henry County jail (located in the southeastern suburbs of metro Atlanta) since June 9, after being convicted of three counts of felony possession of a firearm and one count of violation of the Ga. Controlled Substance Act for having marijuana in his possession — charges he'd received in 2009 and 2010.
Khujo was originally sentenced to two years because Henry County had determined that he was already a convicted felon, due to a firearms violation dating back to 1990. But today in court, Kane proved that Khujo's previous charge was legally void.
"He had a case in 1990 when he was a teenager that was disposed of under the First Offender Act," Kane explained. "If you enter a plea under the First Offender Act you are not formally adjudicated guilty.
"The mistake was that they thought he was a convicted felon because they thought he was convicted in 1990," he continued. "So I went back into the archives and got the 1990 case, researched it, pulled the records and presented them to the district attorney and the judge in Henry County and said he could never be a felon in possession of a firearm — there were three counts — because he was never a convicted felon. It was a first offender case, and the court agreed."
Of course, a two-year sentence would have put a serious dent in the reunited Goodie Mob's plans for a new album. But the case isn't totally behind him — a new sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 3. When asked to speculate on the final outcome, Khujo's lawyer preferred not to comment on the ongoing case.
He did, however, comment on Khujo's disposition after being freed today: "Well, there's great joy, great joy and happiness. And also his friends from the music industry, they were very, very happy. Big Boi and Cee-Lo, Big Gipp, they were very happy, as well as [Khujo]'s wife, and his cousin.
In the meantime, it's back to business for Khujo, who is featured on the hook he penned for the song "Tangerine," (featuring T.I.), which, according to Kane, will be the next single from Big Boi's new album Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Return of Chico Dusty.
"It'll be a smash; I know the song well," said Kane, who says Khujo will be touring with Big Boi in support of the album. "It'll get released somewhere down the road as a single after [the current single] "Shutterbugg" runs its course. So we're looking for great success. [Khujo]'s going to go out and tour with Big."
Khujo's lawyer expressed equal excitement for the return of Goodie Mob.
"We're all very happy for Khujo and we wish him tremendous success, because the Goodie Mob is reunited and they're touring" said Kane, who, besides serving as long-time legal counsel for Khujo and other Dungeon Family members, also considers himself a fan. "We love Khujo. My son Trevor and Quinn just said, 'Dad, do anything you can to get him out."
So there you have it. Looks like Big Boi sicked that "tough team of attorney's" on the case and got 'Jo on up out of there.