Rap mogul Russell Simmons is delighted with a Judge's verdict that New York's lobbying act violates protestor rights.

The hip-hop mogul was arguing against a case by the New York Temporary State Commission that a rally he organised on 4 June (03) to protest against the state's harsh drug laws was considered lobbying - therefore claiming Simmons had needed to divulge how much he had spent to organise the protest.

Simmons says, "The fact is we should have the rights to express our opinions about laws we deem unjust."

He argued that he is not a lobbyist and was instead using his celebrity status to educate the public on the unfairness of the ruling.

JUDGE BERNARD MALONE ruled that the lobbying act violates due-process rights by failing to give notice or a hearing before handing down a penalty.

Simmons adds, "I'm happy about this ruling because, going forward, you won't have to be a millionaire to say what's on your mind or stand up for your rights."

Changes in the Rockefeller drug laws, which mandate prison terms for individuals found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs, have yet to be implemented.

19/08/2004 16:54