Corell said he was credentialed to represent a trade publication, and was taking photos at the Men's Apparel and Garment Industry Convention in Las Vegas when he was allegedly attacked. He said the last four photos before his camera was broken clearly show Smith reaching toward him.
"The last shot was his hands in front of the lens," Corell said.
Investigators expected Smith would turn himself by the end of the week to face a warrant charge of felony robbery and misdemeanor malicious destruction of property, Las Vegas police spokesman Ramon Denby said.
Mos Def's publicist, Carleen Donovan in New York City, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The warrant was issued Tuesday, said Michael Sommermeyer, a court spokesman.
Corell said he received a cut on his left hand in the scuffle, and that two Las Vegas Convention Center security guards retrieved the camera. Repairs to the camera cost $178, police said in court documents.
Robbery can carry a sentence of probation or two to 15 years in state prison. A conviction for misdemeanor destruction of property less than $250 can bring up to six months in county jail.
Smith built a following as an underground hip hop artist in the 1990s, and has been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy awards. He is the host of the award-winning HBO spoken word show "Def Poetry."