An audio tape recorded
before the slaying of rapper Busta Rhymes' bodyguard has surfaced and is reportedly
being offered to the media for $50,000.
The 53-minute tape
has not been given to police or prosecutors.
The New York Daily
News reported that the tape includes the argument that set off the shooting
of Israel Ramirez, as well as the voice of the suspected killer, who is believed
to have called Rhymes a "b***h."
In addition, a
transcript of the tape appears to confirm that G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo was a
central figure in the argument.
According to a
source familiar with the tape, the fight resulted when G-Unit members were excluded
from an onstage lineup at the video shoot.
The source further
stated that Rhymes appeared to be playing peacemaker on the tape during the
argument and that the voice of a third man, whose identity is not clear, is
believed to be the shooter. On the recording, that man is heard calling another
man, apparently Rhymes, a b***h, according to the transcript.
Although the fatal
shots aren't heard on the tape since the argument moved outside the studio,
the source told the Daily News that the reaction afterwards was included. "You
can hear screaming and the chaos and the 911 call," the source said.
attorney spokesman Jerry Schmetterer hopes whoever possesses the tape or video
"would cooperate with authorities, especially if it provides evidence in
irresponsible of this person to withhold what could be a vital piece of evidence
in an active homicide investigation," added an NYPD spokesman who spoke
to the Daily News yesterday (Feb. 23).
Ramirez died Feb.
5 during the filming of the remix to Rhymes' single "Touch It." No
one has been charged in the slaying.
Rhymes and others
have garnered criticism from NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly for remaining mum
on the details surrounding the shooting.
be called to testify in front of a grand jury or face contempt charges.