YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The attorney for a man expected to be sentenced Friday in federal court for illegally selling guns and selling them to criminals said his client did so because he wanted “street cred.”
John Greven, the attorney for 36-year-old Josh Hones, wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Monday in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio that his client was an aspiring rap artist and wanted to “show how cool he was” when he sold guns to criminals.
“In an attempt to gain ‘street cred’ and to show how cool he was, he sold some legally purchased firearms to people who were legally able to possess a firearm,” Greven wrote.
Hones pleaded guilty on July 2 to one count of engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license. He is expected to be sentenced Friday by Judge Benita Y. Pearson.
He was indicted on May 13, 2021, by a federal grand jury. An affidavit in the case has not yet been made public, but the indictment said that Hones had been selling guns between July 2019 and August 2020 without having a license.
He has been free on bond since his arraignment.
Prosecutors claim Hones was selling guns he knew he obtained illegally and sold them to criminals. They have asked for a sentencing enhancement in the case. They said in their own sentencing memorandum filed last week that Hones sold between 100 and 199 guns and he used such mediums as pawn shops, gun stores, Armslist and Facebook Messenger.
However, Greven is contesting that allegation, and he said in his memorandum filed Monday that Hones obtained the guns legally but acknowledges selling some of them to people he knew should not have guns.
Prosecutors said they plan to show Friday that Hones was getting guns illegally and that he sold between 100 and 199 guns that were illegal. They said his guns were used to threaten people, shoot up a car and help drug dealers do business.
But Greven said in his memorandum that his client is a 36-year-old native of Los Angeles who lived in The Netherlands before returning to the United States in 2010. This is the first time he has ever been charged with a crime at any level.
Greven wrote that Hones was robbed of guns twice on the set while filming rap videos by someone else who had a gun, which formed him “to abandon his dream of becoming a rap star.”
Because he abandoned the circumstances that made him break the law, Greven said it is very unlikely Hones will commit future crimes.