NEW YORK (CBS/AP) - Devar Hurd, the would-be rapper accused of sending crude and creepy text messages about Ashanti to the R&B star's parents, says he thought his messages were welcome banter between future business partners.
Photo: Singer Ashanti.
Hurd told jurors at his New York City trial Friday he was just "sex texting" and joking when he sent lewd remarks, graphic photos and a picture of the family home.
The sometime model and former car salesman from Griffith, Ind., says the multiplatinum-selling singer's family was planning to do an unspecified business deal with him.
Ashanti's mother, Tina Douglas, testified Hurd was a stranger who bombarded her with disgusting messages, though she told him to stop. She says he didn't.
"It was just disgusting and humiliating and extremely frightening," Douglas said.
Douglas, who manages her daughter, testified that she "freaked out" and pulled her daughter out of a rehearsal of "The Wiz" after receiving a text that mentioned seeing Ashanti's car as it arrived at the theater.
Ashanti starred as Dorothy in an off-Broadway revival of the musical this summer.
"I was afraid this person could have been in New York," she said. "I wanted to protect my daughter."
Defense attorney Richard Verchick said Hurd was misunderstood.
"Sending pictures and texts is not a crime," he said. "The intent was never to harass Tina or Ashanti. ... What he wanted was what we all want in life — love."
Raised in Glen Cove, New York, Ashanti got her first record deal at 14; her hits include "Foolish" and "Only U." She has appeared in films including "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die."
The 31-year-old Hurd is charged with stalking and harassment.
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