DOCUMENT: Crime

Diddy Goes To Bat For Felonious Protege

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Diddy Goes To Bat For Felonious Protege

 Suffolk County Police Dept. photo, May 2002. 

This Sean "P. Diddy" Combs sure knows how to pick 'em. As emcee of MTV's "Making the Band" reality show, the rap music titan recently conducted a nationwide talent search involving thousands of wannabe hip-hop stars vying for one of six spots in a band to be selected by Mr. Diddy himself. On the December 23 finale, Combs announced that Dylan John, a 23-year-old New York rapper, had made the band. What viewers, of course, didn't learn was that John--who has used the name Asiatic Sadaat Allah--had just been convicted of the felony assault of a Long Island teenager, a crime he committed while already serving two separate probation terms for prior felony and misdemeanor convictions. While the reality show made a passing reference to John's legal troubles, the contestant's actual rap sheet was kept under wraps. According to the following police, court, and probation records, John--aided by his younger brother--punched and kicked 17-year-old neighbor Dominick Frank during a May 2002 altercation. The beatdown concluded with a 40-ounce beer bottle being smashed over the teen's head (the more upscale Puffy, of course, once assaulted a foe with a champagne bottle). Following his arrest, John tried to convince the victim's mother to drop the criminal charges because, "you are causing my mom to have a heart attack!" He then added, according to a witness statement, "Even if you don't drop the charges and me and my brother go to jail, when we come out do you think your life will still be safe?" At the time of his assault arrest, John was serving concurrent probation terms (five and three years) for criminal mischief and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. But he regularly failed to report for meetings with his probation officer, which resulted in his term of supervision being extended. In light of his most recent felony conviction, probation officials wrote in August that John "is expected to be sentenced to one year in the Suffolk County Jail." But the twice-convicted felon, surprisingly, avoided jail time when he appeared before Judge Michael Mullen on November 13. And that's because prosecutors, who had previously said they would seek a year in the can for John, changed their minds, asking instead that Puffy's protégé serve five additional years of probation and perform 280 hours of community service (a recommendation Mullen adopted). The D.A.'s change of heart came after Puffy himself wrote to Mullen seeking leniency for John, noting that he "has what it takes to make it all the way." P. Diddy added, "I am blessed to be in a position to create opportunities for our youth and help them fulfill their dreams." For his part, John told Mullen prior to his sentencing, "Idleness is definitely the devil's workshop, and that is the truth, and to get an opportunity like this, I know that a lot of quote, unquote, criminals that are incarcerated right now , that has talent and they don't have the chance that I got. You know what I'm saying?" (12 pages)