NEW YORK (Reuters) - American hip-hop and R&B singer and rapper Akon pleaded not guilty to minor criminal charges on Monday after being accused of tossing a teenage fan off the stage during a concert in upstate New York earlier this year.
The singer, who also goes by Aliaune Thiam and was partly raised in Senegal, faces misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a minor and harassment.
A woman at the concert in Fishkill, about 80 miles north of New York City, told local media she suffered a concussion when she was struck by the young fan Akon tossed off the stage.
“It was never Akon’s intention to violate the law,” his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement. “This unfortunate incident was a spontaneous reaction during a live concert that Akon deeply regrets.”
The June concert incident occurred after an audience member threw an object at the singer, who then pulled a 15-year-old boy from the crowd and tossed him into the audience, hitting the woman, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.
Akon’s second album, “Konvicted,” released in 2006, featured a collaboration with Eminem called “Smack That” that was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album, which has sold more than 1.3 million copies in the United States, also featured Snoop Dogg. Other hits included “Don’t Matter” and “I Wanna Love You.”
In November he won the soul/R&B category at the American Music Awards,
If convicted, Akon, 34, faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Eric Walsh