Gates, whose real name is Kevin Jerome Gilyard, was not at a hearing Thursday when County Judge Sharon Franklin set a trial date for Oct. 24.
Neither side would discuss details of the proposed plea deal. Gates’ lawyer, Sean Landers, said he planned to discuss the details of the offer with Gates. If convicted, Gates faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanor battery charge.
Gates is accused of kicking 19-year-old Miranda Dixon on Aug. 30, 2015, at Rumors Niteclub, located off Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland, while he was performing in front of a packed club.
Dixon twice grabbed Gates’ shorts before she was kicked. Dixon has said she suffered bruising to her stomach.
In July, Franklin rejected a motion by Gates that the misdemeanor battery charge against him be dismissed based on Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
“While a simple act of touching or pushing someone without his or her consent may amount to simple battery, the Court finds that such a minor act does not necessarily rise to such a level as to justify the use of force in return,” Franklin wrote in her decision.
In her five-page order, Franklin wrote that Dixon’s testimony was more believable and Gates’ testimony was “troubling in terms of his credibility.”
At a July 28 hearing, Gates described how there was no one on stage with him that night. But Franklin said a video showed there were at least seven other men and a child on stage.
“Defendant testified that he is always scared for his safety at his shows because of death threats he’s received, yet he allowed a very young child to not only walk out on stage with him but allowed this child to remain on the stage for the entire performance,” Franklin wrote. Franklin also wrote that Gates initially stated that he did not remember being grabbed but later said he was grabbed twice.
A new prosecutor was working the case Thursday. Assistant State Attorney Brittany Shell, a first-year prosecutor, was removed from the case after she asked Gates for an autograph following the motion to dismiss hearing. Gates offered his autograph, but nothing was ever signed.
Shell, 27, was also suspended for three days without pay. She’s paid a yearly salary of $43,000. Brian Haas, the incoming state attorney, said it was inappropriate for Shell to ask for a defendant’s autograph. But he said he has confidence in Shell’s abilities. “She’s a young lawyer who has a lot of good abilities,” Haas said. “She’s learned a lot from this.”
Stacie Kaylor, who runs the State Attorney’s Office’s misdemeanor division, is now overseeing the Gates case. Kaylor has been with the State Attorney’s Office since 2010, Haas said. “We felt like it was appropriate to reassign the case to another attorney,” Haas said.