(AllHipHop News) The trial of Hip-Hop mogul James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond began today (May 14) in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Rosemond, who at one point managed artists like Game, Brandy, Akon and others, is accused of being the head of a $10 million-year-cocaine ring.
Authorities accuse Rosemond, who appeared in a court today in a crisp, pin-stripped suit, of organizing a conspiracy to distribute cocaine imported from Los Angeles, to New York.
Prosecutors claim Rosemond used FedEx and other overnight shipping companies, to send cocaine from Los Angeles to New York, where the drugs were distributed, in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and other boroughs.
A multiracial jury made up of eight women and six men listened to opening statements from prosecutors early this afternoon.
Prosecutors said Rosemond headed up the cocaine empire from 2007 until 2011.
“The whole system ran like clockwork,” Assistant Prosecutor Una Dean said. “For a time business was good. He [Rosemond] had a lot of money and lived a life of luxury. But he didn’t just have money, he had cash, so he could continue to build his drug empire.”
Prosecutors accused Rosemond of using his management company, Czar Entertainment, as a front, to launder his drug proceeds.
The Assistant D.A. said that on three separate occasions, police intercepted massive amounts of cash in bundles of $400,000 $600,000 and $800,000, respectively.
Prosecutors claimed that Rosemond created hundreds of front companies, and used thousands of money orders to pay for various luxury items
He even used the money orders to pay one lawyer $300,000 in attorney fees.
When Rosemond began to suspect authorities had infiltrated his drug empire, he started using other methods of sending drugs back and forth between California and New York.
Police said that after Rosemond stopped using FedEx, he began shipping cocaine in music crates, to various recording studios in New York and sending the drug proceeds back to Los Angeles.
After some of those shipments were seized, Rosemond started shipping luxury cars stuffed with drugs, to New York and Los Angeles.
Gerald Shargel said that there were four major flaws with the government’s case against Rosemond.
He said the government witnesses were liars, questioned their motives, said the evidence seized was flawed and that Rosemond’s reputation was strategically damaged by journalist Chuck Philips.
“I’m going to make a bold statement. The prosecution’s case against Jimmy Rosemond can’t be trusted,” Gerald Shargel told the jury. “The witnesses they are relying on want to be paid with the price of freedom. These witnesses have an eloquent history of lying. I don’t mean simply insignificant lies, I mean lies that hit to the heart of this case.”
Gerald Shargel said that most prosecution witnesses had a motive to lie, since that was the only way to have their federal sentences reduced, under federal guidelines.
Some of the witnesses testifying against Rosemond face sentences ranging from 10 years, to up to life in prison for drug dealing and other crimes.
Shargel said that he would also question the evidence in the case, as well as the corroboration of the evidence the government will present.
Shargel said that Rosemond was the manager of several popular Hip-Hop artists, including Game, Akon, Mario Winans and others.
According to Shargel’s opening statements, Rosemond’s duties as a manager accounted for the large amounts of cash he frequently possessed.
Prosecutors began to object when Gerald Shargel laid out the final point of Rosemond’s defense, which was his reputation.
Gerald Shargel pointed to an infamous article published in the Los Angeles Times by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Chuck Philips.
The article claimed that Rosemond was behind the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur, at Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan.
When a document in the article was found to be fabricated, the Los Angeles Times was forced to publish a retraction, fire Chuck Philips and settle a defamation of character lawsuit with Jimmy Rosemond for $250,000.
A man named Dexter Isaac eventually confessed to be being the trigger man in the 1994 Quad shooting, allegedly on orders of Rosemond.
With the exception of the fake “302″ documents cited in the article, Chuck Philips has always maintained the article was accurate.
“This motivated people to go along with the government’s story,” Gerald Shargel told the jury. “When they cooperate, the mandatory minimum no longer exists. You will find that plays an important role, because the article motivated people to testify against Jimmy Rosemond, who was labeled a snitch.”
According to Gerald Shargel, the former Hip-Hop mogul attempted to cooperate with the government seven different times, but they were not satisfied with the information he provided to them, but he also admitted to the jury that Rosemond deliberately lied to prosecutors each time a deal was on the table.
“What about Game? You got any dirt on Sean Combs, or anything on 50 Cent? Who killed Tupac Shakur?’ Those were some of the questions the government wanted Rosemond to answer,” Gerald Shargel said.
Testimony continues in the trial all this week.