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Singer Ashanti, Mother Terrorized by Explicit Text Messages

Ashanti

AshantiReuters

A fitness trainer deluged Ashanti's mother with crude text messages about the R&B star, peppering his comments with graphic photos and a picture of her family home, authorities said in a court case that could go to trial next week.

Devar Hurd, 31, sent the Grammy-winning singer's mother and her husband dozens of messages to their cell phones before his July arrest, a detective said in papers filed in state court in Manhattan.

The messages gushed lewdly about Ashanti's performances and jealously lamented her relationship with the rapper Nelly, the court papers said. They said one message included a photo of her mother's home and asked about coming over to visit; another mentioned seeing her car when he went to a performance of "The Wiz." Ashanti starred in an off-Broadway revival of the musical this summer.

Hurd, 31, has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $50,000 bond. His lawyer, Richard Verchick, declined to comment Wednesday. Relatives said they were mystified by the charges against Hurd, a gym worker and former janitor from Indiana.

Ashanti spokeswoman Judy Katz said the singer and her family feel authorities have taken care of the issue and decline to comment further.

Hurd's text messages interspersed explicit sexual scenarios – sometimes accompanied by photos of male genitals – with career advice, accounts of his workouts and dreamy romantic visions, according to the court papers.

"I had a nice dream about us shani," he wrote in June, according to the papers. "We was at your place and had a event and u was singing. I was feeling so good because we was finally past this and living together."

A July message said his mental state "is very fragile with all this," the court papers said.

While most of the messages were apparently directed at Ashanti, a few seemed to address her mother, Tina Douglas, and sister, Kenashia.

Tina Douglas told Hurd to stop contacting her in February after he called repeatedly, according to the court papers. It's unclear how he might have gotten her cell phone number.

"As far as I know, he doesn't know these people," sister-in-law Kim Hurd said by phone Wednesday. "He's not in the music business. He's really a regular old person."

It's unclear whether Ashanti, 29, would be called to testify if the case goes to trial.

Raised in Glen Cove, New York, the multiplatinum-selling singer got her first record deal at 14; her hits include "Foolish" and "Only U." She has appeared in films including "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die."

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