A source close to Elgin James reported that the filmmaker, musician and founder of FSU was in Chicago on Tuesday for a pre-trial appearance. The courts in Chicago accepted the bail already posted by James and he was released to return to LA.
James is being charged with allegedly extorting $5,000 from a band from the Chicago area (which various sources have now revealed to be Mest), in exchange for protecting them from attacks from members of FSU. If heís convicted, James faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Now that we have the knowledge that Mest is the band involved, there are other items that deserve notice, and may or may not come up in trial (please note this is armchair quarterbacking on my part, simply wondering what items from Mestís past will be used in the court case):
- In 2007, Mest frontman Tony Lovato was arrested in the stabbing death of a man linked to his girlfriend at the time. He was cleared of all charges when police determined that he had acted in self defense.
- Lovato wears a U.S. Thugs tattoo, which is the name of the crew started by Tim Armstrong from Rancid. If Lovato is affiliated with U.S. Thugs, is there the possibility that a Thugs/FSU conflict prompted these events?
- As a teenager, Lovato played drums in a White Power band (something he has since apologized for). Will this be relevant to the case, given FSUís anti-racist stance?
Jamesí is no saint, either, but his story is a pretty open book; his early days with FSU have already been documented prolifically on video and in print. Even his recent life as a filmmaker has been documented, like in this Movieline profile.
Additionally, the source close to James had this to say:
"The Elgin I know, who I speak to every day... has been retired from FSU for at least five years, if not longer. Even before this supposed situation began. He's been working on his writing, filming short films, going to Sundance, falling in love, recording new music, and rescuing abandoned pitbulls from Los Angeles shelters... Elgin doesn't even have any sort of adult criminal record."
One thing is definite Ė this case is far from over, and there is probably still a lot of new information that will arise. We'll keep on top of it.
Photo courtesy of Devastation Management