LATEST: An investigation into whether rap mogul Russell Simmons violated lobbying laws while trying to reform New York's drug statutes has been suspended.

The hip-hop mogul had faced a 20 August (03) deadline to comply with a subpoena into the investigation.

Simmons and former NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLOURED PEOPLE (NAACP) leader BENJAMIN CHAVIS sought a temporary restraining order on 29 July (03) in a federal court in New York to put a hold on the STATE LOBBYING COMMISSION's investigation of the civic leaders.

As a result the NEW YORK TEMPORARY STATE COMMISSION ON LOBBYING suspended its investigation. At the request of the New York State Attorney General who is representing the Commission, the US DISTRICT COURT also adjourned the preliminary injunction hearing originally scheduled for yesterday (07AUG03).

State law requires lobbyists to register and document their spending to reveal the pressure and influence on state law makers and officials.

Simmons and Chavis said they were exercising their constitutional right to petition government and were unaware of the State Lobbying Act requirements.

The two men and the COALITION OF FAIRNESS had sought reform or repeal of old drug laws which mandate long sentences - even for possessing and selling small amounts of illegal drugs.

Simmons' activities included a rally and several closed-door sessions with GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI and legislative leaders.

08/08/2003 09:16