2 Mass. men in rap video ordered held without bail

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Two Massachusetts men who appeared in a rap video in which two law enforcement officers were allegedly threatened by name will remain locked up without bail.

Matthew Rufino, 24, of New Bedford and Jason Foley, 28, of Fairhaven were ordered held without bail for up to 90 days after Wareham District Court Judge Rosemary B. Minehan found the men a danger to the community.

Prosecutors said the amateur rap video “Watch 4 Me” posted on YouTube contained sounds of gunfire and threats against a Massachusetts state trooper and a probation officer.

Rufino and Foley have pleaded not guilty to charges that include threatening law enforcement officials.

According to The Standard-Times of New Bedford, defense lawyers argued that the profanity-laced video was protected by the First Amendment.

Erin Steadman, an attorney for Rufino, told the newspaper: “It's not wise. It's offensive, but it's not criminal.”

Peter Marano, an attorney for Foley, said he would continue to defend his client on free-speech grounds and appeal the dangerousness finding. Marano said Foley had no prior criminal record.

The Standard-Times reported that Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said that because Rufino named two specific individuals, it was a threat.

“We can't afford to wait and see if these individuals intended to carry out these acts or not,” the newspaper quoted Gagne as saying. “We can't afford to give them that chance.”

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