South Side community activist sentenced to prison

  • By Emily Withrow
  • Medill News Service
  • January 19, 2006 @ 1:49 AM
A well-known South Side community activist was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison for having tried to blackmail New York Yankees player Gary Sheffield and his wife.

"I'm sad it got to this point, given my track record with the community," Derrick Mosley said in his last comments before being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan.

Mosley stood uncomfortably before Der-Yeghiayan during the entirety of the sentencing. His request to sit down during the proceeding was denied. As he stood, the chains around Mosley's ankles jingled as he shifted his weight back and forth during the hearing.

Mosley,39, has been in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center since last November when a jury found him guilty of extortion.

The charges stemmed from a 2004 call Mosley made to Sheffield's manager, saying that he was in possession of a videotape showing Sheffield's wife having sex with popular musician R. Kelly. The manager Rufus Williams then called the FBI.

Subsequently, conversations that took place between Mosley and Williams were taped by federal authorities. The tapes include detailed conversations in which Mosley asked for $20,000 to destroy the tape and offered to "minister" Sheffield's wife.

The sentencing Tuesday was interrupted by an in court argument between Mosley and his lawyer Luis Galvan. Mosley said that his lawyer hadn't adequately explained one of the court documents. The lawyer disagreed, but Sheffield said he was lying.

"He's being very mendacious right now," Mosley told Der-Yeghiayan. "I don't know what kind of games he's playing with my liberty."

Der-Yeghiayan called for a one-hour recess so Galvan could explain to his client the pre-sentencing report, which outlined the guidelines that could determine the length of Mosley's sentence.

When the court reconvened, Der-Yeghiayan moved swiftly through the rest of the sentencing process, denying the government's request to bring witnesses to testify against Mosley's character.

Mosley had asked the judge in a written request to play a videotape highlighting his charitable deeds and contributions to the community. The judge said that the tape would not be played during the sentencing, but that he would consider Mosley's community service as an activist.

Der-Yeghiayan said that although he believed Mosley's assertions to be an activist in the community to be true, he also believed that "the defendant has chosen a life of crime."

Since 1986 Mosley has been convicted for five crimes five times, including theft, battery, reckless driving and bank fraud. He was arrested in connection with another 14 other crimes, but charges were never filed.

After serving time in prison for bank fraud, Mosley became an ordained pastor and spoke out in local news outlets against alleged police brutality. He was in the middle of a five-year probationary sentence when the blackmailing took place.

Mosley attributed his prior convictions to bad judgment in his youth. "Despite those calamities," Mosley said, "the old Derek Mosley doesn't live here anymore."