Ashanti 'shocked' by prospect of stalker retrial

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NEW YORK (AP) — Ashanti is appalled by the prospect of facing her accused stalker again in court, but the Grammy-winning R&B singer said Friday she's determined to see the case through after a mistrial.

"I'm shocked and horrified at the thought of going through this ordeal again, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure my family is safe and that justice is served," she said in a statement to The Associated Press.

A juror's illness prompted a mistrial during deliberations Thursday in Devar Hurd's case, which marks the second time in five years he's been tried on charges of harassing the singer or her relatives.

Ashanti told jurors Tuesday she was "disgusted ... and absolutely scared" when she realized last year that Hurd was behind a Twitter account sending her X-rated messages and had posed for a photo with her younger sister at an event, despite a court order not to contact the family.

"I didn't know what he was capable of," said the multiplatinum-selling singer, who said she hired extra security because of Hurd.

Hurd was representing himself, and cross-examined her in a sometimes odd courtroom scene peppered with objections from prosecutors and admonishments from the judge to Hurd to adhere to rules for cross-examination.

Hurd, a would-be rapper, argued that he never meant to harm Ashanti or her family. He portrayed his raunchy tweets as adult communication about "sex, lovemaking and emotional heartbreak," and he noted that some other messages were just about her career.

But she noted the no-contact order that followed his 2009 stalking and harassment conviction, which involved crude text messages he sent Ashanti's mother about her multiplatinum-selling daughter. Hurd spent about two years in jail.

Ashanti's hits include "Foolish" and "Only U," and she also has acted in films including "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die." This year she released two albums, "Braveheart" and "A Wonderful Christmas with Ashanti," an expansion of an earlier recording.


Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.

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