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Cardi B Awarded $350K in Case Relating to Mixtape Cover

Updated: Jul 5

This ends a federal lawsuit relating to Cardi B’s debut mixtape after almost six years.

Cardi B and her legal exit the courthouse; the cover of “Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1”
Cardi B has been tangled up in a lengthy legal battle surrounding the cover of her debut mixtape, “Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1.” Though, she finally came out on top after almost six years (Photo Courtesy: Meghann Cuniff)

The man who accused Cardi B of misusing a photo of his back tattoos on the rapper’s debut mixtape, “Gangsta Bitch, Vol. 1,” will have to pay her $350,000 and withdraw his notion for a new trial.

According to Megann Cuniff’s newsletter, the deal follows U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney’s December ruling that Kevin Michael Brophy’s back tattoo played a small role on the rapper’s mixtape cover. A jury in California ruled against Brophy’s $5 million claims against Cardi, her company Washpoppin’ Co. and her former manager Klenord Raphael’s company KSR Group LLC.

Cardi’s lawyers told jurors the changes transformed Brophy’s tattoo into another piece of art. Her lawyers said such transformation is protected by the first amendment. In October, the jury deliberated for an hour-and-a-half before siding with the “Bodak Yellow” rapper.

Brophy’s lawyers asked for a reversal of the verdict and a ruling in their favor. Judge Carney’s subsequent ruling stated that the mixtape served as a “larger visual commentary on sexual politics.”

When Judge Carney backed the jury’s verdict, Brophy’s legal team asked for a new trial, stating they weren’t able to fully present their case. Judge Carney had imposed a 30-minute limit on lawyer Barry Cappello during his cross-examination of Cardi B. This had followed a heated back and forth between the rapper and the lawyer.

Rather than file an opposition to the motion, Cardi’s legal team reached the announced agreement with Brophy’s legal team. The stipulation, featured in Cuniff’s newsletter, partially read:

“The parties now have reached an agreement avoiding the necessity of Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees and application to tax costs and Plaintiff’s New TRial Motion, and that agreement includes the entry of the accompanying proposed Order withdrawing any claim by Defendants for attorney’s fees and costs to be awarded other than as set forth in the order, and waiving appeal rights.”

The closing arguments stretched more than two hours past time as Judge Carney didn’t impose any limitations. This led to the verdict announced late into the afternoon and court getting out around the same time as the high school across the street. Journalists covering the entirety of the trial were pushed out by high school students trying to see the Bronx rapper.

The verdict ends an almost six-year battle between the rapper and Brophy. The $350,000 will only cover some of Cardi’s attorneys fees, which includes paying money to an attorney whose health complication led to a delay in the case.


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