Isaac Wright dreamed of pursuing his music career in New York City. However, things escalated quickly when the young musician was arrested for a crime he did not commit, turning his life upside down.
Mr. Isaac Wright Jr.
Introducing attorney Isaac Wright Jr., otherwise known as the Giant Slayer, the man who's been on a journey of a lifetime. Let's run it back to where it all started, in the Sunshine State on August 17, 1961.
Mr. Wright was born in Orlando, Florida, over 50 years ago to mom Sandra B. Wright and dad Isaac Wright Sr. Having a few siblings. Isaac was born into a big family. Wright Sr. was a military man, so the family moved around from city to city often, so having a lot of siblings definitely came in handy.
Big Music Dreams
With the family constantly moving around, Isaac and his siblings lived all over the U.S. and internationally. Eventually, the family moved back to the U.S. just in time for Wright Jr. to go to high school. The family settled in South Carolina, where Isaac went to Berkeley High School, and soon met one of his greatest loves.
Later on, Isaac and his boo decided to get married and welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. The couple both had dreams of joining the music industry. As they raised their baby girl, they were both well on their way to success until things got complicated.
Moving to the Big Apple
Both Isaac and his wife's careers were going well at the time. She was in a band called Cover Girls, and Isaac scored an opportunity on the reality TV show Star Search. "Everything was going really, really, really good," Wright later explained. "And sometime after it started going well for us, we decided to move to New Jersey."
The family decided to take off and move closer to New York City, where big dreams were made of, and opportunities were endless. After settling down in New Jersey, Isaac started his own record label titled X-Press Records, but unfortunately, the good vibes didn't stick around for long.
Reuniting With Some Old Pals in NYC
Like many who decide to move to the Big Apple, Isaac and his wife hoped to make it big in the music world and that their dreams would become a reality one day. Everything seemed to be on the right track until Wright found himself involved in some questionable sketchy business. It all started in NYC when he met up with some old friends.
"A group of police officers took down certain license plate numbers, and they started investigating those individuals," he said. "A lot of them were not on the up and up," Wright recalled. Apparently, the police were in the middle of investing a crime, with him and his guys as the suspects.
On the Police’s Radar
Due to his rising music success, Wright caught the police's eye when looking for their target. "So that's actually how I came to be on [the police's] radar and initially got targeted," he explained. One of those license plates the police were looking for belonged to Isaac, and he was caught in the middle of one big problem.
In 1989, Isaac Wright was arrested and charged for being a part of this trafficking ring. "Tie that in with this scheme, and eventually, I was arrested." Wright was arrested and noted as the kingpin of the whole operation. According to the New Jersey Drug Kingpin Law, Isaac could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.
Looking for the Right Lawyer
Just like that, Issac Wright's world turned upside down. He was no longer making music, which he came to NYC to do. Now he was in a jail cell. Wright insisted he was innocent, but the police didn't seem to budge, indicating it would be a long ride ahead.
It was then, Isaac started searching for the right lawyer. "I interviewed some attorneys, and they said the best I could do was twenty years," he said. "' You plead not guilty, and you get 20 years, you plead guilty and you get 15 years.' That's the lowest I hear.'" Wow.
Getting Into the Fight on His Own
No matter who he spoke to, Isaac kept hearing the same thing: over ten years of prison, no matter what goes down in court. The young father knew he was innocent, but no one else believed him. This led him to do the unthinkable and represent himself in court.
With no experience in the court of law, Isaac decided that he represented himself and no one else. "I decided at that moment that if I was going to prison, I wasn't going to pay someone to send me to prison," he said. "I decided to put the gloves on, string up the boots, and get into the fight myself."
Studying the Law
"I knew early on that I was going to prison for the rest of my life, and there was nothing that no one was going to be able to do to help me," he said. With this in mind, Wright decided it was the only way to move forward with his trial. If he can represent himself to be proven innocent, why not give it a chance.
With his destiny now in his own hands, Isaac hit the ground running and opened the books. Preparing for his trial, he used every second he could to study and learn the law to the best he could. Isaac was detained for two years before his first court appearance.
The Big Trial Arrived
It was finally Wright's day in court, and the former musician had one shot at proving his innocence. After endless hours of teaching himself the ins and outs of the law, it was time for Isaac to take the stand. However, this was no practice run. Would Isaac succeed?
"Everyone on the witness stand at trial, there were people up there, and I had no clue who they were. I had never seen them a day in my life, and they were pointing the finger at me saying that I was their boss," Wright recalled. It didn't seem like Isaac had many people on his side.
The Big Trial Arrived
One stranger after the next took the stand claiming Isaac was the criminal behind all the accusations. Isaac was shocked to hear what was happening and could see his innocence fading away. The once musician-turned-detainee was fighting for his life.
After hours of a complex trial, Wright received the difficult news. The court declared him guilty. Wright was given a life sentence with possible parole in thirty years. The family man that uprooted his whole life to make it in the music industry would never see past a prison yard.
Determined To Help Others
Even though the trial was over, Wright would not give up fighting for his innocence. He was not guilty, and he was determined to prove it. Isaac did not notice a single witness on the stand, and suddenly, he was sitting in a maximum-security prison. Wright continued to study the law with hopes to appeal his case.
"The act of representing other prisoners who were also wronged was a part of me fighting them back and getting them back for what they had done to me," Wright explained. He was determined to help others who were wrongfully convicted and eventually became a prison paralegal.
New Jersey Prosecutor Faced Charges
The unjust conviction fueled a fire inside Isaac, and he wanted justice for not only himself but for others. The verdict destroyed the father of one, and he continued to study hard on the inside. However, he didn't know what was going on out the outside…
Just like that, things started to change. The New Jersey prosecutor involved in Wright's case, Nicholas Bissell, faced legal charges for tax evasion, mail fraud, and abuse of power. Bissell was charged with thirty federal charges in September 1995, and then things escalated.
Guilty on Thirty Charges
The truth was finally revealed about prosecutor Nicholas Bissell who took the Garden State by storm. The man in charge was now involved in one of the most prominent corruption cases New Jersey had ever seen. About a year later, the court made its decision.
The former prosecutor was found guilty on all thirty charges. Bissell would spend six to ten years in prison and awaited his final sentencing at home, under the supervision of a tracking electronic bracelet. However, this decision made by the court turned out to be a significant mistake…
Bissell on the Run and Police Standoff
At home, Nicholas removed the electronic bracelet on November 19, 1996. The authorities were immediately alerted, but they missed him, and he was officially a fugitive on the run. It didn't take long for people to watch the news, and the authorities knew to look out for him, wherever he went.
The fugitive was later found far from New Jersey in a hotel in Nevada. Once the police arrived, things quickly turned ugly. The police peacefully confronted Bissell to come out safely; however, the attorney took his own life. Things only continued to get more complicated.
Wright Is Offered a Life-Changing Deal
As the biggest corruption scandal in New Jersey unfolded, Isaac continued studying and focused on his own freedom. Wright previously fought for a fellow inmate, which proved to be helpful in the future. A new legal theory was formed attacking the New Jersey Kingpin Law under the 1993 case of State v. Alexander. Wright was ready.
The argument presented was so successful in the 1993 case that it eventually became law. The creation of this law led to the removal of Isaac's life sentence and the end of his own kingpin conviction. With the life sentence off the table, Isaac still faced other convictions totaling up to seventy years in prison.
He Rolled the Dice
Wright was later offered a life-changing deal. His kingpin conviction was overturned, but he still carried enough charges that would leave him in prison for a very, very long time. The prosecutors presented him a deal; he could go home after two years if he admitted to certain things.
Isaac turned down the deal. "I was not about to give them a single second of my life," he said. "I'd rather spend the rest of my life in prison trying to get out even though I could be home in two years than to give them another second of my life. So I rolled the dice."
Representing Himself for a Second Time
Now that Isaac turned down the prosecutors deal and continued studying the law. Isaac appealed the case and focused on fighting for his freedom. Now that the kingpin conviction was removed, he had seventy years' worth of other convictions to fight for.
Wright motioned the court for the Post Conviction Relief. The self-taught lawyer detailed that both prosecutorial and police misconduct were involved in his case. Things were looking in his favor during the trial, and then a shocking confession was presented in the court.
An Astonishing Confession
It was at the Post Conviction Relief hearing when things changed dramatically. Veteran police detective James Dugan took the stand and unveiled some surpising information. Wright cross-examined the police detective, and he abruptly started crying.
Shaking the courtroom, Dugan started confessing to an hefty amount of police corruption. He unveiled the late prosecutor Nicholas Bissell made secret deals with defense attorneys who had their clients testify against Isaac, despite never having met him all in exchange for shorter sentences.
The Case Continued
There was more! James further admitted that the police planted the evidence that was allegedly found in Wright's possession and secret listening devices, all leading to Wrights's life sentence conviction. Bissell's plan was to be known as a relentless prosecutor with a fearsome reputation.
Isaac spent almost a decade in prison before the truth came to light. People willingly put an innocent man in jail to protect their well-being, and the court was shocked to hear the truth prevail itself. Wright was then granted a new trial to clear his name once and for all.
Isaac was granted a new trial, but with many bureaucratic complications, the trial of his life was postponed indefinitely. However, due to the outrageous confessions from the witnesses and police corruption, the judge decided Isaac no longer deserved to spend another moment in a prison cell and was let out on bail.
After over seven long years of being in prison for a crime he did not commit, Isaac Wright was let out of prison on bail. The bail was set at $250,000, and Wright's loved ones raised enough money to get him out. Now that this door closed, new doors soon opened for Isaac.
Passionate To Keep Studying
Upon Wright's release, an investigation was carried out proving the corruption claims were, in fact, true, and in response to the investigation, Isaac was proved not guilty. After almost a decade, his innocence was finally restored, and with that came a passion for the justice system.
The now released Isaac Wright had gained ample information about the law and wanted to continue his profession down the legal pathway. The determined Mr. Wright went back to school and got a Bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State University and then to St. Thomas University for law school.
Taking the Bar Exam
"I went through that system, but I'm a better part of that system," Isaac explained. "It was an incredible feeling and a sickening feeling," Isaac described his time in law school. Regardless of his feelings, Wright successfully completed law school and took the New Jersey Bar Exam.
Wright passed the challenging Bar exam in 2008 and was ready to jump in and practice law officially. However, despite his outstanding grades and Bar score, the American Bar Association gave him a difficult time regarding his criminal history. It took years until he found out the news…
“I Became the System in a Way That Was Triumphant”
Regardless of Wright's wrongful conviction and an investigation that proved his innocence, the American Bar Association still hesitated to allow him to practice. After an exhausting nine years for Isaac Wright, trying to persuade the ABA, he was finally approved as a lawyer.
The once musician now lawyer was sworn into the judiciary system in 2017. Nearly thirty years after being arrested, Wright began working for Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley, a New Jersey law office. "I became the system in a way that was triumphant," he explained. Little did he know, his experience would go well past New Jersey and into Hollywood.
Working as a Lawyer
Isaac spent most of his energy working on cases that were similar to his. His goal was to help others who were falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. When an old pal of his stopped by Wright's office for a different reason, Isaac's attention was immediately captured, and then things started to change.
Isaac's old friend owned a New York fight club illegally run and wanted to make it legit. Isaac's friend had 50 Cent ready to perform at the club once it was legalized and get it going. Wright was able to get his friend the right licensing for the club, and in doing so, met 50 himself.
“It’s Like a Unicorn”
After Wright made it all happen, Curtis Jackson kept his word and gave an iconic performance at the venue. In response, the man behind making the magic happen, Isaac Wright, came to the show and met the rapper. That night the two got to talking, and a friendship quickly escalated.
That night, Isaac Wright told 50 Cent all about his life journey and how he ended up behind bars under false accusations leading to his current profession as a lawyer. "It's like a unicorn," said 50. "It's not like one in a million-it's like there is only one." And so magic began.
Representing Wright on the Small Screen
50 Cent was inspired by Wright's journey. The rapper couldn't stop thinking about Isaac's determination to defend himself to prove his innocence and all the injustices that occurred in his case and for so many others who found themselves in similar situations.
So that's when 50 came up with a plan. It was time to take Wright's courageous story to the small screens. A television series representing Wright to both entertain and teach viewers of the system's injustices. With 50 being 50, he could get a television network right away to produce his project.
Creating 'For Life'
ABC Network picked up the project portraying Wright's journey as a television series. Wright himself would join the team as Executive Producer of the show, alongside 50 Cent and other Executive Producers. The show, For Life, allowed Isaac to share his truth, but it was also challenging for him.
"Through this process, "I've never really had the chance to reflect on my own pain," he said. "I spent so much time fighting that I didn't take the time to reflect on what I was actually going through." [The show] brought back experiences that were very emotional for me." Regardless, Isaac was ready to share his story with the world.
The man who once dreamed of making it in the music industry led a completely different path. After spending so many years in jail, Wright found his passion in law and knew he could make a difference helping others through fighting injustice everywhere. Isaac's talents expanded beyond the film studio and the courtroom.
Besides working as an executive producer on For Life and as a lawyer for Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley, Wright expanded his work past the United States. He worked hard to raise millions of dollars from investors for energy and infrastructure projects from Mexico to Nigeria, and his work just continued.
Running for NYC Mayor
Isaac decided he would use his knowledge of the law, life experiences, and overall passions to get involved in politics. In December 2020, Isaac announced he was running for the mayor of New York City with points such as school desegregation and homelessness as a part of his campaign.
"This campaign is motivated by the voices of the citizens of New York City," Wright said. "We aim to give voters a greater choice, a stronger voice, increase representation, and more opportunities for a sustainable way of life." However, Wright did not win the election this time, but hopefully, more will come.
"All You Have To Do Is Dig Deep"
Isaac Wright has been through it all, from a musician to a falsely accused convicted felon, outstanding lawyer, executive producer, and mayoral candidate. His television series, For Life, was canceled after two seasons, but his story continues to live on and educate people everywhere.
With his story, Wright wanted everyone to know his life and journey is about "hope and inspiration." With that being said, Wright also shares life is "the understanding that all the answers to all your questions and your challenges are within you. All you have to do is dig deep."