Flavor Flav, wearing trademark clock necklace, pleads not guilty to charges in NY traffic stop

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Rapper and reality TV star Flavor Flav leaves following his arraignment on traffic charges in Nassau County Court in Mineola, N.Y., on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. The rapper, whose real name is William Drayton, was arrested in January 2014 on speeding and other charges while driving to his mother's funeral. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)


MINEOLA, New York — Wearing his trademark clock necklace, Flavor Flav pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from a traffic stop last year while he was driving to his mother's funeral.

"I don't like the circumstances, but I like the attention," he said while surrounded by a throng of reporters and fans snapping pictures with their cellphones as he waited to be summoned to a Nassau County courtroom.

He was arraigned on a felony charge of driving with a suspended license. He also faces a speeding violation and two misdemeanors.

He was released without bail. If convicted of the top charge, he could face a maximum of four years in prison.

The 55-year-old rapper and reality TV star, whose real name is William Drayton, declined to discuss the charges against him. His attorney, Indji Bessim, had previously said she was attempting to reach a plea agreement following Flav's stop Jan. 9, 2014, while driving to his mother's funeral.

Bessim declined to speak with reporters Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Flav had his license suspended 15 times before being stopped on the Meadowbrook Parkway while speeding to his mother's funeral, but they declined to comment on why a plea agreement never materialized.

The rapper is a Long Island native; he currently lives in Las Vegas. He was inducted in 2013 with the rap group Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A Nevada judge closed a criminal case against Drayton in August after he completed a required domestic violence counseling course.

Flav pleaded guilty in April to attempted battery and battery constituting domestic violence, misdemeanors, for wielding a kitchen knife during a home argument with his longtime girlfriend's 17-year-old son.

Prosecutors dropped felony assault and child endangerment charges that could have gotten Flav up to 12 years in prison. He served probation and underwent counseling.

His next court date on the New York charges is Feb. 3.

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