In what is now the third postponement, the money laundering trial of Murder Inc label principals Irv and Chris Lorenzo “Gotti” has been delayed again after federal prosecutors presented a surprise witness to testify yesterday (Nov. 14). The judge in the case also denied prosecutors’ request to mention the 2000 shooting of rapper 50 Cent during their opening arguments.
The surprise witness was a former employee who claims he “handled cash transactions” for Murder Inc. Donnell Nichols would have been the first witness to testify at the Brooklyn Federal courthouse today. However, upon learning of the witness, the defense filed a motion to delay the trial while they investigate his background.
Judge Edward Korman postponed the trial until tomorrow; it is expected that Nichols will take the stand on Thursday.
SOHH.com has learned that Nichols was employed at Murder Inc approximately five years ago, having been given the job by Chris Lorenzo, who found him homeless. Sources close to the label say Nichols had a reputation for “fabricating stories” about having a high-profile position at the company and was allegedly fired by Chris for telling people he “owned” the label.
Nichols apparently came forward after having learned of the investigation and volunteered his testimony to become the “star witness” for the prosecution.
Despite their new witness, the prosecution did suffer a setback Monday when Judge Korman ruled that they would not be able to mention the shooting of 50 Cent. Some have speculated that drug lord Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff ordered 50’s killing after the rapper called him out on the song “Ghetto Quran.”
Lefcourt and Shargel stressed that mentioning the shooting during opening statements would stain their clients with a crime in which they weren’t involved. Judge Korman apparently agreed and denied the prosecution’s request, but said the shooting could be discussed through witness testimony.
Prosecutors claim the Lorenzo brothers talked about 50 Cent’s shooting with McGriff and believe they received “street protection” from the drug lord.
Meet the Murder Inc trial players, read back stories, review case filings and comment at SOHH.com.