Jurors in Brooklyn
have acquitted The Inc.’s Irving and Christopher Lorenzo of all counts of
federal money laundering.
After two days of deliberation
that cast the brothers’ fate in doubt, jurors sided with the defense and
acquitted the Lorenzo’s on all charges of money laundering.
The acquittal of the Lorenzo’s
ends a two year investigation that climaxed with the 2003 raid of The Inc.’s
825 8th Avenue offices in New York.
The government claimed the
Lorenzo’s were laundering drug proceeds for convicted drug dealer, Kenneth
Assistant U.S. Attorney’s
Sean Haran and Carolyn Pokorny claimed the brothers wrote numerous checks to
McGriff, including two totaling $65,000 to McGriff’s company Picture Perfect
Films, which was producing the movie “Crime Partners.”
McGriff owned picture perfect
with Jon Ragin, who served as a government witness against The Lorenzo’s.
Ragin confirmed the governments explosive claims that Ja Rule’s bodyguard,
Robert “Sun” Lyons, shot 50 Cent in May 2000 and sought to have
the information included in the Lorenzo’s trial.
Ragin, like Donnell Nichols
and Phillip Banks, claimed to have seen or delivered bags of McGriff’s
drug cash to The Inc.’s offices.
Additionally, the government
analyzed hundreds of text messages the brothers sent to McGriff, hoping to establish
a connection to the brothers and McGriff’s illicit drug trade.
Attorneys Gerald Shargel
and Gerald Lefcourt defended the brothers, claiming both were compulsive gamblers,
who would bet hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time. – resulting
in tens of thousands of dollars floating around The Inc.’s offices.
The defense said the brothers
backed McGriff’s Picture Perfect Films legitimately and had not committed
a crime in doing business with McGriff.
McGriff is facing the death
penalty in a March 2006 racketeering and murder trial. In addition to drug and
gun charges, McGriff is accused of two drug-related homicides in Baltimore,
Maryland and the revenge slaying of rapper Eric "E Money Bags" Smith.
Shargel and Lefcourt also claimed
that Darryl "Hommo" Baum shot 50 Cent in May of 2000 and pointed to
50’s lyrics, as well as investigative work contained in the new book, "Queens
Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler,"
by journalist Ethan Brown.
The brothers’ trial attracted
a who’s who in the hip-hop community, including Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Ashanti,
Fat Joe, Russell Simmons, Lyor Cohen, Damon Dash, Minister Benjamin Chavis (Hip-Hop
Summit Action Network) and others.
a great victory for the entire culture of hip-hop,” Chavis told AllHipHop.com
of the verdict. “Hip-Hop profiling in the case of Irv and Chris Gotti
exposes why the government should not attempt to censors or harass poets, lyricists
and music producers. Irv and Chris Gotti will emerge from this episode even
stronger. Hip-hop summit action network salutes them on their victory.