The driver pleads guilty to the murder of Nicki Minaj’s father

A businessman has pleaded guilty to a New York suburban car crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s father.

NEW YORK – A hit-and-run driver on Friday pleaded guilty in a New York suburb to a New York suburban crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s father and promised a year or less in prison, disappointing prosecutors and the hip-hop star’s mother.

In state court in Nassau County on Long Island, businessman Charles Bolevich admitted leaving the scene of the February 2021 crash that fatally injured Robert Marage while walking along a road in Mineola.

Bolevich initially got out of his car and looked at the injured man on the ground, but then drove off, not calling 911, and parked his car in a garage and covered it with a tarp, authorities said. Bolevich pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence by concealing the vehicle.

Maraj, 64, died in hospital the next day.

Judge Howard Storm said Bolivitch would not be sentenced to “more than one year” in addition to community service and a suspended license. The 71-year-old is due to be sentenced on August 3.

Carol Maraj, the victim’s widow, told reporters she was “unhappy” with the scheduled verdict. The widow, who is suing Bolevich, said seeing him in court made her shiver at the memory of her husband fighting for his life in hospital.

Prosecutors, who demanded one to three years in prison, also objected to the planned punishment.

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“Given the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the court’s obligation to issue a ruling,” Nassau County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Brendan Bruch said in a statement.

Bolivich’s attorney, Mark Jean, described the hit-and-run operation “totally out of character” for his client, who hails from Long Island but has a water drilling and water purification business on Guam.

“He feels great sympathy for Mr. Marj’s family and deeply regrets any role he played in his death,” Jan said by phone after the court. He noted that Bolevich may have had a medical problem that made him “completely unaware of what he was doing”, while noting that it was not legally justified.

Letters have been sent to reps for Nicki Minaj, who called her father’s death “the most devastating loss of my life” in a post on her website last year.

The platinum-winning, Grammy-nominated rapper – known for her hits “Anaconda”, “Starships” and “Super Bass” – was born Onika Tania Maraj.

In interviews years ago, she described her turbulent relationship with her father. But she later said that he had changed.

After his death, she wrote about wanting to pick up the phone and talk to him.

“He was so lovable and we will miss him so much,” she wrote.

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