Hip-hop legend, actor Eric B. released after being jailed in NJ on 17-year-old warrant: lawyer

Posted at 1:23 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 17:30:38-05

NEW JERSEY — Prolific hip-hop musician and actor Eric B. had been sitting behind bars in New Jersey since October for a warrant from nearly 20 years ago, according to his attorney.

Eric B., real name Louis Eric Barrier, was jailed on Oct. 28 on a 2002 warrant for failing to appear in court, his lawyer, Patrick Toscano, told PIX11's Nicole Johnson.

In 2001, Barrier was stopped by Ridgefield Park Police and things escalated into a chase and a crash involving 2 police cars.

At the time, his attorney negotiated a plea deal and allegedly advised Barrier that he did not need to appear in court again. That was inaccurate. The court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

"All I can say about that is, the legal advice given to Eric back in 2001, for lack of a better word, is impolitic," Toscano said.

Barrier's attorney during the 2001-2002 case was Paul Bergrin of Nutley. Bergrin is currently in federal prison serving a life sentence on a completely unrelated murder charge.

According to Toscano, Barrier, 56, only became aware of the 17-year-old warrant when he was pulled over for a traffic stop in Vermont in October.

There was a hearing over the case Tuesday afternoon at Hackensack Superior Court.

Barrier's attorney said he was released Tuesday pending a court appearance on Nov. 22. The state had argued for him to be held.

Barrier had to pay over $5,000 in restitution Tuesday and he must be re-sentenced for the old offense. His attorney said he’ll argue for no jail time.

"He’s looking forward to a hell of a career in acting," said Toscano.

Barrier is most famous for being half of the iconic hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. He currently acts in the CBS police drama "Blue Bloods" starring Tom Selleck.