After a series of
critical setbacks, New York Federal prosecutors rested their money laundering
case Monday (Nov. 28) against the hip-hop recording label, The Inc., as the trial
The center of the government’s case revolved around the
theory that convicted drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff provided
the seed money to start up The Inc.
The government also contends that Irv Lorenzo and his brother
Christopher Lorenzo also helped launder millions of McGriff’s drug money
through the label.
The defense is expected to give their closing arguments today
(Nov. 29) and summations in the case are expected tomorrow (Nov. 30).
Most of the day was spent examining various text messages sent
from pagers owned by The Inc., in an attempt to prove the Lorenzo brothers are
guilty of money laundering.
Prosecutors pointed out that much of McGriff traveled under
an alias and that his travels had been paid for by The Inc.
Attorney’s for the Lorenzo brothers countered that McGriff
was part of The Inc.’s entourage and noted that most of the traveling
occurred in 2002, after Def Jam bought the “Crime Partners” soundtrack.
Interesting testimony came from NYPD officer William Courtney,
who investigated McGriff’s activities in Baltimore, Maryland.
Courtney was also the officer that arrested McGriff in Miami
and is expected to testify in McGriff’s trial in March of 2006 for murder
Courtney’s investigation uncovered a double-homicide in
Baltimore which McGriff is accused of ordering, as well as a stash house that
had cocaine, heroin and promotional materials from the “Crime Partners”
The detective admitted under cross-examination that the FBI
warned McGriff of a hit on his life. Defense attorney Gerald Shargel stated
that was the reason McGriff was traveling under an assumed name.
Courtney also testified that there was an unspecified threat
on rapper Ja Rule’s life as well, but prosecutors objected to the line
of questioning and no further testimony was given.
IRS agent Francis Mace also testified without the jury present.
The Lorenzo’s attorneys honed in on Mace’s original
statements in his search warrant affidavits, which led to The Inc.’s offices
being raided in 2003.
The statements were also the basis for the entire investigation.
“This entire investigation set out to prove those false
statements,” attorney’s for the Lorenzo brothers argued.
A verdict is expected
sometime this week.