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2018 hookah lounge shooting defendant reaches plea deal for time served

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Jonathan Corey Smith, also known as “Jock Smooth,” was arrested in 2018 as a suspect in a shooting at Heart of the City Hookah Lounge. Smith, a concert promoter, had collaborated with Andy Maharaj of Orlando in organizing a concert on the night of November 4, 2018, during the UF Homecoming weekend. According to the sworn complaint, the two argued over the management of the money, and Smith “fired numerous shots from a handgun” at Maharaj. Smith allegedly continued to shoot Maharaj after he was on the ground.

The sworn complaint says that Smith has a federal felony conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in 1999, served federal prison time, and violated supervised release in 2004. He also “has a host of violent arrests,” including Attempted First Degree Murder in 1995, in which he was convicted of Aggravated Assault with adjudication withheld. He was also arrested for Attempted Murder in 1998, for Robbery in 2008, and for drug charges in 2014. Most of his charges are listed as “No info – insufficient evidence.”

He was arrested on January 3, 2019, and held with bail of $1.5 million. Former Gainesville City Commissioner Gigi Simmons and Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones are on the list of witnesses in the case. According to Simmons’ deposition, she got involved because a pastor asked her for assistance in getting a permit for the event. According to Jones’ deposition, he got involved because one of his officers had denied the permit, then Commissioner Simmons contacted him. After meeting with the promoters and Simmons, Jones decided to personally approve the permit.

On December 15, 2020, Smith asked for a bond reduction and release with an ankle monitor, based on the fact that every witness that had been deposed had said that they had never seen him with a gun at the event and that, in fact, it was the victim (“alleged victim”) who had a gun visible during the argument. Also, none of the witnesses who were at the event with Maharaj, including Maharaj himself, showed up for multiple scheduled depositions. Bond was reduced to $75,000, and Smith was released with an ankle monitor. The judge authorized the removal of the ankle monitor in May of 2021.

The case is now scheduled for a hearing on August 2, when Smith is expected to be sentenced to time served as a result of an agreement with the State for a time-served plea. Judge William Davis is expected to consider the deal on that date.

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  • Simmons + Promoters (private meetings) = Jones approval

    Victim shot himself with a gun?
    Witnesses fail to show up for depositions?
    Bond reduced from $1.5 million to $75 k?

    Is that privilege or does something smell fishy here?

    Simmons should put in at least that much effort into representing her constituents instead of criminals and getting taxes and GRU rates reduced. Oh that’s right, probably won’t get a “benefit” for that.
    Stupid Gainesville voters…keep believing the BS they feed you.

    • WTF? And with all the recent black on black crime (a.k.a. “Proximity crime”) they should be throwing the
      Book at this gangsta. A felon with a gun? That criminal
      Should be done! 10, 20, life! Lock that SOB up! I guess
      It’s an equity thing and they want him to “sorta build back better”…I wish the article showed the guys’ mugshot….

      • My recollection of that event was poor…wasn’t their
        Alcohol there with no permit too?

      • It was the Boosie Badazz concert. East University Avenue was obstructed by hundreds of teens wandering everywhere. They didn’t have enough cops and it was a free-for-all.

  • Chief Jones and then Commissioner Simmons colluding with high-profile drug dealers to force a permit for a dangerous event in East Gainesville.

  • Light sentence confirms our worst fears: they’ve given up fighting crime. The gov’t is run by lawyers who WANT more crime, so the criminal justice industry stays a growth market. It doesn’t matter if it’s the prosecutor or the public defender side. It’s the courts, probation offices, jails and prisons — it’s all the same market. They NEED more crime for their job security.

    • Yeah…the CC and SA were taking about letting misdemeanors slide too..that’s where King Poe
      Said so “they can sorta build back better”…it’s an
      Equity thing…they want ex-cons to locate here,
      Provide them housing, and give them a monthly
      Stipend too…this thinking is so messed up.
      Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…
      Rewarding bad behavior only encourages bad behavior…

  • They want to stop the gun violence? They need to
    Make the penalty is so severe that it shouldn’t even
    Cross the criminals’ minds…Rehabilitation? Maybe they
    Should add electric shock therapy to the criminal justice system if you’re a repeat
    Customer. In the old country, they cut off a thief’s hand..
    Maybe we start removing body parts and start with their
    Trigger fingers…it sounds terrifying, right? It should
    Be! That will stop crime…if it don’t, then I think it always
    Should have…

    • Bring back “hard labor.” Don’t forget that the local prisoners can’t even rake up leaves for the city anymore since that is now considered tantamount to slavery, according to our woke masters.

      • Yeah…when I was a kid, I remember seeing chain gangs in other states with the prisoners in striped black & white
        Prison clothes…we need to bring back the chain gangs like in “cool hand Luke”…”what we have here is
        A failure to communicate”….

  • Wonder when those “Law Abiding Citizens” are going to say “Enough!”

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