A verdict is expected tomorrow in the money laundering trial of Murder Inc. Records founders Irv and Chris Lorenzo. Federal prosecutors charge the men laundered large sums of money through the company
A verdict is expected tomorrow in the money laundering trial of Murder Inc. Records founders Irv and Chris Lorenzo. Federal prosecutors charge the men laundered large sums of money through the company from reputed drug lord Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff.
Judge Edward Korman dealt a minor blow to the defense this morning when he rejected attorney Gerald Shargel's supposed "brand spanking new evidence" about prosecution witness Donnell Nichols. Nichols was scheduled to testify again today about a taped conversation between he and an undisclosed party, but the evidence wasn't allowed into the courtroom.
Shargel was also rebuffed by the judge when he asked that his client be "acquitted" based upon "zoning concerns," implying that the charges against Murder Inc. were outside of the trial's regional jurisdiction.
The morning continued with the defense calling its first witness, self-employed forensic accountant John Ryan. Under questioning from Shargel, Ryan, a former special agent for the IRS, listed a series of Murder Inc. account withdrawals from January 2000 to December 2002, totaling $852,267. Ryan then read records showing that many of the withdrawals were made from casinos, supporting the theory that Chris Lorenzo spent the large sums of cash for his gambling habits.
During cross-examination, Ryan fumbled when questioned by prosecutor Carolyn Pokorny about the logic of examining bank withdrawals, rather than deposits, in a money laundering case. When asked if he examined Chris' deposits, Ryan hesitated for several minutes, and finally said he couldn't recall whether the defense asked him to analyze those documents. He also admitted that he analyzed most of the records, but not all.
With Ryan in agreement, Pokorny then established that over a period of three years, approximately $100,000 in third-party checks were deposited into Chris' account. Pokorny then indicated that the amount of withdrawals exceeded Chris' income. The government then showed Chris' tax returns, including a 2000 filing in which his taxable income amounted to $110,000. Chris withdrew $153,000 that year.
Pokorny then showed that Murder Inc.'s bank account only had $20 in it in early October 2000. Records show that weeks later, $65,000 was deposited into the account. The time period coincides with two checks being cut to McGriff's Picture Perfect film company. In December 2001, the memo on a $50,000 check used to bail out Born Knowledge, a drug runner for McGriff and also Irv's personal driver, indicated that the money was to be used for promotions.
The jury, comprised of a diverse ethnic group of 14 men and women who appeared to be mostly over 40, watched the proceedings. Ashanti and her mother, Tina Douglas, were on hand to support. Warner Music Group executives Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen also arrived around noon.
Meet the Murder Inc trial players, read back stories, review case filings and comment at SOHH.com.