started today (Nov. 16) in the federal money laundering trial of Irv and Chris
“Gotti” Lorenzo in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York.
Prosecutors outlined their case against the Lorenzo brothers
as well as their main witnesses to a crowded courthouse, as spectators, including
Ja Rule, Ashanti and a variety of friends, family and members of the press watched.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Haran claimed the brothers knowingly
laundering money for Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, former head of a
Queens, New York drug dealing organization known as The Supreme Team.
Haran claimed McGriff would bring shopping bags and shoe bags
full of money that McGriff would then launder through The Inc.
Prosecutors also claimed McGriff had fraudulent identification
created by Irv and that The Inc. was McGriff’s “personal travel
Haran also alleged that the soundtrack to the McGriff-backed
movie “Crime Partners” was another part of the scheme to launder
McGriff’s illicit proceeds through the record label.
Witnesses for prosecutors include an ex-Supreme Team member
and associate of McGriff named Phillip Banks.
The other witness for the government is a former employee of
The Inc. named Donnell Nichols.
The Lorenzo’s are represented by Gerald Lefcourt and Gerald
Lefcourt defended the brothers first, recounting Irv’s
career from his days as DJ Irv, to his stint at TVT, to his legendary run as
A&R at Def Jam, where he signed such superstars as Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule,
Ashanti and others.
The attorney’s maintain that Lorenzo was rewarded by Universal
Music Group with a $3 million dollar record deal to start The Inc. due to his
signing the top-selling artists.
Lefcourt, who represents Irv, said the Lorenzo’s looked
up to McGriff, similar to fans who view characters from “The Sopranos
or The Godfather” and called McGriff a “prop.”
Shargel, who represents Irv’s older brother Christopher
also defended the Lorenzo’s and took aim at the government’s star
Shargel labeled Phillip Banks as an unreliable witness who is
a convicted felon that has no connection to the Lorenzo brothers.
According to Shargel, Nichols was a homeless person and serial
liar who frequently claimed he owned The Inc., despite interning for the company
for just six months.
Both attorneys pointed out numerous mistakes the government
has made and accused federal agents of making false statements while under oath.
Shargel and Lefcourt pointed out that the age discrepancy between
the Lorenzo’s and stated that it was impossible for the men to have been
Nichols is scheduled
to take the stand tomorrow.