Driver pleads guilty in crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s father

NEW YORK (AP) – A getaway driver pleaded guilty Friday in a New York suburban crash in suburban New York who killed Nicki Minaj’s father and was promised a year or less in prison, disappointing prosecutors and the hip-hop star’s mother.

In Nassau County state court on Long Island, businessman Charles Polevich admitted to leaving the scene of the February 2021 crash that fatally injured Robert Maraj as he walked along a road to Mineola.

Polevich first got out of his car and looked at the injured man on the ground, but then drove off, did not call 911, parked his car and covered it with a tarp, the authorities said. authorities. Polevich pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence while concealing the car.

Maraj, 64, died in a hospital the next day.

Judge Howard Sturim said Polevich would get “no more than a year in prison”, along with community service and a suspended license. The 71-year-old is due to be sentenced on August 3.

The victim’s widow, Carol Maraj, told reporters she was “unhappy” with the expected sentence. The widow, who pursues Polevitchsaid seeing him in court left her shaking at the memory of her husband who had fought for his life in hospital.

Prosecutors, who called for a sentence of one to three years in prison, also challenged the proposed sentence.

“Given the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the court’s sentencing undertaking,” Nassau County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Brendan Brosh said in a statement. a statement.

Polevich’s attorney, Marc Gann, called the hit-and-run “completely irrelevant” to his client, who is from Long Island but owns a drilling and water purification business in Guam.

“He feels immense empathy for Mr. Maraj’s family and tremendous remorse for any role he played in his death,” Gann said by phone after court. He suggested that Polevitch might have had a medical condition that did not make him “fully aware of what he was doing”, while noting that this was not a legal justification.

Messages have been sent to reps for Nicki Minaj, who called her father’s death “the most devastating loss of my life” in a post on her website last year.

The Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling rapper — known for tracks like “Anaconda,” “Starships” and “Super Bass” — was born Onika Tanya Maraj.

In interviews years ago, she described a troubled relationship with her father. But she later said he had changed.

After his death, she wrote that she wished she could pick up the phone and talk to him.

“He was much loved and will be greatly missed,” she wrote.

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