Hagel Charge Goes Up in Smoke

SecDef's son beats drug rap

Chuck and Ziller Hagel in Jerusalem / AP
May 29, 2013

A 20-year-old Virginia resident had possession of marijuana charges dismissed Wednesday morning following a brief appearance in a Fairfax County courtroom.

Charles Ziller Hagel, a.k.a. "Zilla Thrilla," the son of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, appeared before Fairfax County Judge Thomas E. Gallahue during a brief criminal court appearance relating to the drug charge.

Hagel was arrested on May 19, 2012, and charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor charge, according to court records.

The arrest came just months before Hagel’s father was nominated to replace former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Ziller was originally scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 8, 2012, but a continuance was granted.

Three additional continuances were granted over the next several months as Hagel’s father faced a contentious nomination process on Capitol Hill before his confirmation in late February.

Hagel’s case was postponed on Aug. 27, 2012; Dec. 3, 1012; and on March 6, 2012 before Hagel finally appeared in court with lawyer on Wednesday.

Hagel, wearing a light blue dress shirt, sat next to his lawyer Nina Ginsberg until Judge Gallahue dismissed the charges in a proceeding that lasted mere seconds.

The courtroom was packed with more than a dozen other lawyers and clients waiting to have their criminal cases heard.

Asked why multiple continuances had been granted in the case, Ginsberg told the Washington Free Beacon that it "happens all the time."

When pushed for a specific reason, she declined to discuss the matter further.

Hagel declined to comment about the case when approached by a reporter after the proceeding.

Hagel appears to be a fan of rap music and rapper Shawty Lo in particular, according to his Twitter profile, @Zilla_Thrilla.

Rapper Lo, creator of the songs "Cut the Check" and "Dunn Dunn," previously served prison time for trafficking cocaine, according to an interview with Vibe.

Hagel travelled with his father to Israel in April as the drug charge pended. The two toured Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on the case when asked by the Free Beacon, referring a reporter to Hagel’s lawyer.