Grant Williams was a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate who lived an otherwise quiet life in Staten Island, NY.
The Hill reports that Williams, who was friends with Ghostface Killa and frequently worked in the studio when the Wu would record their now-classic albums, had his whole life changed after Shdell Lewis was gunned down in front of the Shelton Houses. At that time, the NYPD was struggling to find Lewis’s killer — and some witnesses claimed, without any evidence, that Williams was the gunman. Furthermore, according to the AP, prosecutors linked a hat with a Wu-Tang Clan logo to Williams. However, the hat was reportedly never DNA tested.
There was, ultimately, no credible evidence to confirm that Williams was responsible for Lewis’s death — but that didn’t stop a jury from convicting him of second-degree murder back in 1997. He was sentenced to 25 years to life.
And with that, Grant Williams went from being a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate to a convicted murderer.
Recently, however, Williams was awarded $7 million from the City of New York for convicting him of a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s take a look at how Williams’ insatiable fight for justice ultimately led to his name getting cleared.
How The Wu-Tang Clan Affiliate Was Exonerated — And Paid
For years, Grant Williams had been telling everyone — from his fellow inmates to the Staten Island district attorney — that he was an innocent man. Finally, in 2019, someone listened.
SILive revealed that Williams was ultimately exonerated on July 22, 2021, after Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon paid attention to the case, and realized the lack of evidence was too great to overcome. After all, there was “no forensic evidence or surveillance video” linking him to the crime.” Williams’ conviction was subsequently vacated.
Ultimately, the Wu-Tang Clan affiliate was awarded $7 million from the City of New York for his wrongful conviction.
“Grant Williams spent 23 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit,” Comptroller Brad Lander said in a statement. “While no amount of money can bring those years back for Mr. Williams or his family, I am pleased that we were able to move quickly to a fair and early resolution of this claim. My office reached a settlement with Mr. Williams after a careful review of his claims and negotiations with his counsel. The early resolution of this claim is in the best interests of all parties and city taxpayers.”
What Is A Settlement, and How Does It Work?
According to the American Bar Association, a settlement is when both parties agree to the terms of a payout — and contrary to what courtroom dramas show you, most civil suits end out of court, with a settlement agreement reached as quickly as possible.
The longer it takes to reach a settlement, the more money it costs in attorney’s fees, court costs, and other ancillary payments.
The IRS provides tax exclusions for settlements, according to its official website — but when it comes to money of this magnitude, it’s always best to consult with an accountant or similar trusted financial professional to avoid incurring any potential liability.
After a settlement is reached, money is disbursed — and it’s for the amount settled for, less a statutory fee for attorney’s fees and costs (which is typically 33 percent of the total settlement).