(AllHipHop Features) James Rosemond is one of the most controversial figures connected to Hip Hop culture, even though the man also known as Jimmy Henchman has never recorded a musical project. At one time, Rosemond helped mold the careers of The Game, Salt-N-Pepa, Sean Kingston, Gucci Mane, and Akon. However, he became a household name for many rap fans as a result of a litany of unfavorable reports and rumors surrounding his alleged connections to 2Pac, 50 Cent, and criminal activities.
The 51-year-old founder of CZAR Entertainment is currently serving a life sentence at West Virginia's USP Hazelton for supposedly heading the bi-coastal drug trafficking crew referred to as “The Rosemond Organization.” In 2015, Rosemond was also convicted for participating in a murder-for-hire plot that led to the death of G-Unit associate Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher.
A veteran entertainment insider is now on a mission to challenge the validity of those two cases and debunk the tales of Rosemond being involved in the infamous 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur. The violent incident at New York City's Quad Recording Studios was a pivotal precursor to the so-called “East Coast vs West Coast” rivalry which was highlighted by the well publicized animosity between 2Pac/Death Row Records and The Notorious B.I.G./Bad Boy Records.
Filmmaker Don Sikorski (Rap Sheet: Hip-Hop and the Cops, BMF: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire) created the new Go To Ground documentary Unjust Justice - The Jimmy Rosemond Tapes. The goal of the 10-part web series is to examine whether “Jimmy Henchman” received a fair trial in the judicial system as well as the court of public opinion.
AllHipHop.com interviewed Sikorski about Unjust Justice. The producer of the television shows American Vice and Black Ink Crew explains why he took on the task of possibly changing the narrative about the life of James Rosemond.
[ALSO READ: The Case Of James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond To Be Examined In New Web Series ‘Unjust Justice’]
Why did you decide to film a docuseries about Rosemond?
His story was one that I always found fascinating. Personally, I thought with his life sentence that telling it would be extremely hard, and to be honest after I directed a documentary about BMF, I really felt I was done telling stories of the nexus of crime and Hip Hop.
Two things made me change my mind. Jimmy reached out directly and told me he felt he had a story to tell that had not been written. It was a story that was different from the myriad of articles that had been written about his life and his drug and murder cases. The more I listened, the more I felt I needed to investigate.
The second thing was the release of Netflix’s Making A Murderer. I saw that they used recorded phone calls from jail. I started to record calls that I had with Jimmy and realized the stories and information he was giving me was never written in any publication or online.
How did you first connect with Rosemond? And a what point did you pitch the idea of the series to him?
I was put in contact with Jimmy through a third party. The idea for a series was born out of the fact that he went to trial three times. Once on the federal CCE charge, or “kingpin” charge, and twice on the murder-for-hire charges. I felt that to really tell his story you would need a lot of time devoted to these very complex cases. I also realized that I didn’t want to be told how to tell this story. I wanted that freedom. So we immediately went into production on putting the story together.
The title Unjust Justice suggests Rosemond is being presented as the victim in the series. He was convicted in separate trials for drug trafficking and for conducting a murder-for-hire plot. What do you believe was "unjust" about his situation?
Yes, the sentencing that Jimmy received was unjust in many ways. First and foremost, I believe after investigating the court documents, doing my own interviews and due diligence that James Rosemond was not a drug kingpin.
To go further under the sentencing guidelines of the kingpin charge, I don’t think the federal government was able to prove with evidence that Jimmy is a drug kingpin. I have spoken off the record with individuals that were involved in this “so-called” drug organization. It was not a top down organization. There was no pyramid with Jimmy at the top as the government alleges. Jimmy should be serving a small sentence for drugs, not a kingpin charge. I know that for a fact.
Secondly, I have started my investigation into the murder-for-hire case. Again the evidence the government provided at trial is all based on testimony of individuals who had everything to gain by painting Jimmy as the mastermind.
I am reserving my opinion on his sentencing on that charge as I am still in the midst of interviewing the major players and reviewing every piece of evidence. Reading the court transcripts and understanding what went on inside the courtroom, it is hard to see why a jury found him guilty.
G2Greleased a 90-second video clip that covers the 2Pac shooting at Quad Studios in New York. Even though he denies it, there are still many people that believe Rosemond was involved in that incident. Will you present more evidence to prove Rosemond was not behind the 1994 attack?
The whole pilot episode of the series basically rips to shreds the narrative that has been presented in every major media outlet. What I have found fascinating to me as a journalist is that you have articles that are written online and in print about Jimmy that are 80 to 90 percent false.
Whether it was the Los Angeles Times, NY Post, or many, many Hip Hop blogs, people have printed stories not based on real proven and sourced information. You can still read online that Jimmy killed Tupac in Las Vegas.
As far as Dexter Isaac and other individuals who have come forward, their stories are just false and based on personal vendettas. I wanted to approach this story by just using facts and information that is available. The first episode is very interesting as I believe it puts to rest the 2Pac/Quad Studios rumors for good.
Do you address Dexter Issac's relationship with Rosemond?
Yes, we will go into the relationship between Dexter and Jimmy. I am pretty sure that Dexter Issac was not at Quad Studios that night, and I know for a fact that he didn’t shoot 2Pac at Quad Studios. Any story stating otherwise is a blatant lie and wrong.
You can watch one episode and see why this is the case. Again, I believe Dexter has a personal vendetta against Jimmy. Second, any articles that say he physically shot Tupac with a gun would be a blatant lie.
A few years ago, James “Jimmy” Sabatino claimed Rosemond orchestrated the creation of fake FBI documents used by L.A. Times reporter Chuck Phillips for his now retracted article about the Quad Studios shooting. Were you able to refute Sabatino with concrete evidence?
James Sabatino, from what I have gathered, is a compulsive liar. The idea that Jimmy would create or orchestrate fake FBI documents is the stupidest theory I have ever heard. Keep in mind one thing, the L.A. Times printed a major story accusing Jimmy based on fake documents. Jimmy filed a lawsuit and the L.A. Times printed a retraction. But the damage to Jimmy’s reputation at that point was done.
Everyone reads the first L.A. Times story. No one really remembers the retraction. James Sabatino and Chuck Phillips served a dual purpose. Sabatino wanted notoriety, or he was put up by someone. Chuck Philips wanted another sensational story about Hip Hop, Jimmy, and Quad Studios.
Chuck Phillips as a writer has completely fallen off the map. I had to hire a private detective to try and track him down to see if he would talk. I am still in the process of doing that. I have found Sabatino laughable at best, and the idea that Jimmy orchestrated all of this is a bigger conspiracy theory than I can imagine.
During your conversations with Rosemond, did he discuss his threat to sue media outlets and the 2Pac biopic filmmakers if they promote the idea he confessed to being involved in the Pac shooting?
We have not spoken about that, but I do know this, there was also articles written during the trial that Jimmy confessed to being involved in the shooting of Tupac during the proffer sessions. These articles about these proffer sessions were all inaccurate and wrong.
Again, if you watch episode one, you will see how it would be hard for Jimmy to admit any involvement in the shooting of Tupac. The proffer sessions are one area that we will talk at length about when we get into the drug trial.
Rosemond has also been connected to a longstanding feud with 50 Cent and G-Unit. Someone from G-Unit allegedly slapped Rosemond's then teenage son back in 2007, and 50 recently accused Rosemond of trying to kill Tony Yayo. There have been other violent incidents such as the murder of G-Unit affiliate Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher which Rosemond was convicted of taking part in. Can you prove Rosemond was not involved at all in any of this reported violence involving G-Unit?
I am in the midst of looking at all of the evidence and talking to various individuals surrounding these incidents. I do know the public narrative of this was again sensationalized by the media. I can’t comment further as I am still working on this part of the series, but we will go in depth into these various incidents.
Outside of Rosemond, did you speak with any other individuals connected to the so-called “Rosemond Organization”? Or did you speak with anyone connected to 2Pac, G-Unit, or the government officials involved in Rosemond's cases?
Yes, I have spoken on and off the record to people not only on the drug side but also who were involved in the case. I have one confidential source who actually explained how the drug organization operated.
Again, what is true and what's the media’s version of the case is polar opposites. The story the government told at trial is so far from the truth that seeing it unfold is comical at times. To go further, you have individuals within the case who went on the stand and perjured themselves the minute they spoke.
The federal government wanted to make Jimmy a drug kingpin. They marched ten people on the stand who told very good fairy tales so that they all could go home. Jimmy is very candid that he was not a boy scout, that he has done wrong in his life.
In my documentaries, I always get both sides and offer the opportunity for all parties to come forth and talk. I have reached out to Henry Butler, a co-defendant in Jimmy’s case, hoping he will go on the record. He is a very interesting part of the case. I hope Henry - now that he is home - will go on the record for the series and talk about his testimony about how the “Rosemond Organization” operated.
I am also going to speak to Todd Kaminsky, the federal prosecutor, and hopefully DEA agents to see some of the evidence presented at trial. I also have every slice of evidence from the case. Surveillance, photographs, wiretaps, traced Blackberry information - anything the government presented at trial. I will let the audience decide if Jimmy is guilty or what he is guilty of. It is a wide grey area that will be explored.
Rosemond is still a very controversial figure in Hip Hop. Do you think this series will be able to change the perception some of his critics have about him?
I am not sure about that. I just want to let the audience see the facts of the case and the facts of the story. I hope that the storytelling is dynamic and puts to rest a lot of gossip, rumors, and stories that are shaky at best. This is not an easy story to tell, and the trials are very, very complex. It spans twenty years.
The one thing I also think is important is that you can hear directly from Jimmy, not via a reporter or a news article. You can hear his perspective and his side of the story. After that, it really is up to the audience to decide. I do know that his story and court case are one of the most interesting tales of crime, Hip Hop celebrity, and our criminal justice system.
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