After a year of more drama than comedy, entertainer Katt Williams stood in a Sacramento courtroom Wednesday pledging to get serious about showing up for future court dates.
The celebrity comedian, rapper and actor appeared before a judge for a bizarre Capitol Park incident in November, when the California Highway Patrol reported he drove a three-wheeled motorcycle on sidewalks, led officers on a short pursuit and blew through several red lights. The "Friday After Next" movie star added to his legal woes when he failed to appear at least three times since then.
"I want to apologize," Williams said to Superior Court Judge Laurel White. "I don't need this. This has already cost me a $20 million tour."
In the end, the judge decided to take a chance on Williams, recalling a second bench warrant, reinstating bail at $100,500 and setting further proceedings and bail review Feb. 20.
Williams' attorney, Harris B. Taback, said the comedian missed Sacramento court dates because he was appearing in a Southern California court in a custody battle for his adopted children.
"He was trying to change the court dates here, and he was relying on advice being given him that an attorney was progressing on that," Taback told White of his client. "He has no interest in evading Your Honor. He's well-known to the public. He can't go anywhere without being recognized, and he has no desire to be in a warrant status."
White told Taback to bring proof of the other court obligations when they next return to Sacramento court.
Williams was in Sacramento for a concert on Nov. 25, 2012, when CHP officers said they spotted him driving a Spyder, a three-wheel motorcycle, on an L Street sidewalk about 2:30 p.m. He reportedly drove onto K Street, where motor vehicles are not allowed, allegedly almost hit five pedestrians, and didn't stop when the officer pursued him with lights on and siren blaring.
The officer gave up the chase, fearing for public safety, but Williams was arrested later in the Los Angeles area. He was charged with felony vehicle code violation of reckless evasion of a peace officer.
When he missed his first court appearance, a bench warrant was issued and bail was set at $100,500. Williams missed his second appearance and bail was increased to $200,500. The comedian again missed a Feb. 4 court date.
The Dayton, Ohio, native, whose real name is Micah Williams, has had a string of legal and personal troubles in the past few years, including rants at concert audience members, stolen gun and child endangerment accusations, and charges of attacking a tractor driver. He also was sued by a former employee who said he hit her, and was in a bitter custody battle with a former nanny for his children.
He was arrested in Yolo County just after the motorcycle escapade on suspicion of assaulting a Target employee in Woodland.
Williams said the employee had repeatedly called him a vulgar word for an African American.
Williams told reporters the downtown Sacramento lark was a "misunderstanding," and that failing to appear in Superior Court was a mistake.
"I had a conflict and I chose poorly," he said outside the courtroom. "So I had to throw myself on the mercy of the court."