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Charles Polevich, the hit and run driver responsible for the death of Nicki Minaj’s father in 2021, pleaded guilty to fleeing the scene of the fatal crash in court on May 6. According to CBS News, the judge told the 71-year-old businessman that he would be ordered to serve “no more than one year” in jail for the incident, a verdict that prosecutors said upset Minaj’s widowed mother.


During the trial, which took place in Nassau County state court, Polevich admitted to leaving the scene of the February 2021 crash that left 64-year-old Robert Maraj fatally injured after he walked across a snowy road in Mineola. Upon realizing he had struck Maraj with his vehicle, Polevich said he got out of his car and looked at the injured man on the ground but didn’t call 911 or notify authorities. Instead, he quickly drove home and parked his car in the garage, covering it up with a tarp. Maraj was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died.

On Friday, Polevich pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence by concealing the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run. In addition to jail time, Judge Howard Sturim said that Polevich’s license would be suspended and that he would be required to complete community service.

After the trial concluded, Minaj’s mother Carol Maraj told reporters that she was “not happy” with the lenient sentencing.

“I was angry, very, very angry. I started to shake because it brought back all the memories of that night when I was sitting in the hospital,” said Carol, according to News Day, PEOPLE reported. 

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Carol filed a $150 million lawsuit against Polevich in March 2021, arguing that the water purification business owner was negligent when he hit her husband and left the scene. In a statement, Nassau County District Attorney’s office spokesperson Brendan Brosh said he was also unsatisfied with Friday’s disappointing verdict, as prosecutors hoped to serve Polevich with one to three years in prison.

“Given the severity of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the sentencing commitment from the court,” Brosh said.

Polevich’s lawyer, Marc Gann, claimed that the Long Island resident might have had a medical episode that caused the incident, noting how the tragic crash was “completely out of character” for the 71-year-old.

“There are no allegations of substance use or abuse as causative of his conduct and it is our belief that a medical heart issue contributed to Mr. Polevich’s conduct. Mr. Polevich could not be more sorry for the loss of Mr. Maraj.” Gann added to Billboard.

Minaj has not spoken publically about her father’s passing since breaking her silence back in May 2021. On her website, the “Starships” hitmaker called her father’s tragic death, “the most devastating loss” of her life.

“I find myself wanting to call him all the time. More so now that he’s gone,” she wrote at the time. “Life is funny that way. May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved & will be very missed.”

Polevich’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3.


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