Jury selection started today (Feb. 28) in the federal trial
of Lil’ Kim, who is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly
lying to a federal grand jury in relation to a broad daylight shootout in New
Testimony could begin as early as tomorrow.
Lil’ Kim, born Kimberley Jones, and her assistant Monique
Dopewell are charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements.
On Friday, Judge Gerald Lynch scolded prosecutors and defense
lawyers for being careless in the jury selection process.
According to Newsday, some of the 200 potential jurors made
comments about Lil Kim and rap music that Lynch deemed unacceptable.
"She's a rapper that spends a lot of money on diamonds,”
one potential juror stated. “She seems like she would do almost anything
Cathy Seibel, who is the Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney,
told the judge that some of the biased jurors made it through due to clerical
The explanation didn’t appease Lynch, who pointed to another
juror’s answer that implied rap artists “seem to shoot each other.”
Lynch said that even though these jurors were allowed through,
their negative views made it certain they would be dismissed.
Last week Hillary Weston, Kim's long time business adviser,
pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of passport fraud, for making a reservation
for Damion Butler to travel outside of the United States knowing he had a fake
Butler was one of two men accused in the shooting. Suif Jackson
was also charged. Both recently pleaded guilty.
that Jackson and Butler were involved in a confrontation that started inside
of Hot 97’s Greenwich Village offices and spilled out on to the street.
The result was
a daylight shootout that left an associate of Capone-N-Noreaga, Efrain Ocasio,
with a gunshot wound in the upper back.
Kim had appeared in the station earlier that day and claimed
she wasn’t present when the shooting took place.
Kim helped the men flee, a charge she has denied.
"I am completely innocent of the charges I have been accused of, and am
very confident that my co-defendants and I will win this case in the courtroom,"
Lil Kim told AllHipHop.com in August of 2004. "This case is a witch-hunt
against the Hip-Hop industry."
Jackson has since pleaded guilty to the shooting and was sentenced
to 12 years in prison.
Butler pleaded guilty in January and was awaiting sentencing
as of last week.