Rapper Lil’ Kim “flat out lied” to a grand jury investigating the roles of her friends in a 2001 shootout that sent some 30 bullets flying outside a Manhattan radio station, a U.S. prosecutor said today (March 1).
Lil’ Kim and her personal assistant Monique Dopwell had “powerful personal and financial motives to lie” about two members of the performer’s entourage who had fired guns that day, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Gitner during opening statements in the perjury trial.
“They flat out lied,” Gitner told the jury. He said two repeatedly gave false statements that “went to the heart of the shootout the grand jury was investigating.”
The case stems from a Feb. 25, 2001, incident outside Hot 97 radio station, where Jones and associates from the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. had appeared as on-air guests.
After they left the studio, members of Jones’ entourage and a rival hip-hop group were involved in a shootout, in which one man was injured. Gitner said some 30 bullets were fired from six different guns. At least one bullet went through a nearby apartment building.
A video from a security camera showed Jones standing on the street during the shootout and then jumping into a limo with people suspected in the incident.
Two members of the entourage, Damion Butler and Suif Jackson, were indicted in the case and later pleaded guilty. Gitner said both men had fired into the street that day and that Jackson had used a machine gun.
Lil’ Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is charged with telling the grand jury that Butler was not there that day and that she did not know Jackson However, Gitner said the evidence will show that Jones and Jackson had been friends for almost a decade.
Her lawyer, Mel Sachs told the jury that his client did nothing wrong. “The truth is Kimberly Jones is not guilty … Mr. Gitner’s case is a case of window dressing,” Sachs said, contending that the prosecution’s case was akin to walking into a store with elaborate windows and finding nothing inside.
Sachs denied that his client had ever been asked if she knew Jackson and instead was asked to identify a hazy photograph. He said she replied that the face looked familiar and thought she had “seen him around.”
The defense lawyer said just because there is a video of the shooting does not mean that his client saw who was there. “Looking through the eyes of the camera is not looking through the eyes of Kimberly Jones,” he said.
Coincidentally, a man was shot in the leg yesterday night at the same radio station. The incident occurred where rapper 50 Cent was being interviewed to promote his new album. U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch, who is presiding over the Lil’ Kim case, made clear to the jurors prior to opening statements that the shooting was unrelated to the trial.
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