Driver who hit rapper Nicki Minaj’s father will serve ‘no more than a year’, judge says

(CNN) —A hit-and-run driver pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a accident in the suburbs of New York that killed the father of rapper Nicki Minajprosecutors say.

Charles Polevich, 71, admitted Friday that he left the scene of the February 2021 crash that fatally injured Robert Maraj and tampered with evidence, according to Nassau County District Attorney spokesman Brendan Brosh.

Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim sentenced Polevich to “not more than one year in jail,” with community service and license suspension, according to Brosh. Polevich is due back in court on August 3 for official sentencing.

The Nassau County District Attorney, who recommended a sentence of one to three years, expressed disappointment with the sentencing compromise.

“Given the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the court’s sentencing commitment,” Brosh said in a statement to CNN.

An attorney for Polevich, Marc Gann, told CNN in a statement Sunday: “Mr. Polevich is extremely sorry for any role he played in Mr. Maraj’s death. There are no allegations of substance use or abuse as a cause of death. his conduct and we believe that a medical heart condition contributed to Mr. Polevich’s conduct.”

Maraj, 64, who police previously confirmed to CNN was Minaj’s father, had been walking overnight in Mineola, Long Island, when he was “struck by an undescribed northbound vehicle that left the scene of the accident.” “, the Nassau County Police Department said in February 2021.

Maraj later died in hospital, police said.

Nassau Police Homicide Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick previously told CNN that after the incident, Polevich altered and hid his white Volvo truck in an attempt to hide it from police. Through security footage, police were able to trace the car to the suspect’s home, he said.

“He is absolutely aware of what happened,” Fitzpatrick said. He “he got out of the car and looked at the deceased, got into his car and made a conscious decision to leave. Instead of dialing 911, instead of calling an ambulance for the man, he went and went to his house and hid his vehicle. “

Carol Maraj, the victim’s widow and mother of Nicki Minaj, filed a $150 million civil lawsuit against Polevich a month after his death. That lawsuit is pending, according to online court records.

In a letter posted on her website in May 2021, Minaj wrote about her devastation at her father’s death.

“Although I still don’t dare to talk about the death of my father, I can say that it has been the most devastating loss of my life. I find myself wanting to call him all the time. And even more so now that he is gone. Life is that funny. May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved and will be greatly missed, “he said at the time.

CNN has reached out to Carol Maraj and a representative for Nicki Minaj for comment on the sentencing commitment.

CNN’s Susannah Cullinane, Marianne Garvey and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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Driver who hit rapper Nicki Minaj’s father will serve ‘no more than a year’, judge says