Phila. rap mogul may testify tomorrow
By George Anastasia
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Rap music mogul and suspected drug kingpin Alton "Ace Capone" Coles is expected to take the witness stand in his own defense tomorrow, if, as expected, federal prosecutors conclude their case today in his ongoing cocaine trafficking trial.
Coles, 34, is accused of using Take Down Records, a rap and hip-hop record company he founded in 2002, as a front for a multi-million dollar, Southwest Philadelphia-based cocaine and crack distribution network.
In an interview from prison prior to the start of the trial, Coles denied those allegations.
If he takes the stand, he will be pressed to explain a high-flying lifestyle that prosecutors and witnesses described during the trial -- a lifestyle that included fancy cars, a lavish home, lots of cash and few legitimate sources of income.
Coles court-appointed lawyer, Christopher Warren, said after Wednesday's court session that he expected his client to testify. In opening argument and through his cross-examination of witnesses, Warren has argued that Coles cash came from promoting rap music videos and concerts and from hosting a weekly party at a Spring Garden Street club.
Prosecutors allege that during a seven-year period beginning in 1998, the Coles drug organization distributed a ton of cocaine and a half ton of crack in the Philadelphia market. The operation generated at least $25 million, authorities said.