by Nolan Strong
Prosecutors argued in closed chambers that the May 2000 shooting is related to The Inc.’s money laundering trial, because it was ordered by Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff as the brothers allegedly laundered the convicted cocaine dealer’s drug proceeds. They also claim to have a message from one of The Inc.’s pagers, claiming a message was sent shortly after 50 Cent was shot in May 2000 saying “f**k half a dollar, me and my ni**as kill for fun.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Haran said that on the day 50 Cent was shot, Irv sent a flurry of messages, allegedly within 30 minutes of the shooting, asking how many times the rapper had been shot and if he had been killed. Former McGriff associate Jon Ragin testified yesterday as well, claiming that McGriff, alleged triggerman Robert “Son” Lyons and Chauncey “God B.” Milliner met in a Brooklyn garage immediately after the May 2000 attack.
"Supreme said, ‘I got him,’" Ragin told Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Pokorny. "I didn’t know who it was he got and Supreme explained he got 50 Cent. He thought 50 Cent was dead. He got shot so many times at close range and there was so much blood."
Ragin even claimed that Lyons wiped gun powder residue off of his hands with rubbing alcohol after the shooting. Ragin was a McGriff associate and partner in a business Picture Perfect, which produced the DVD film “Crime Partners,” which the government claims was a fake company designed to launder McGriff’s drug proceeds.
Ragin is facing up to 108 months in prison and is cooperating with the government for a lesser sentence in a massive credit card fraud ring. Ragin is also in the witness protection program. Ragin had prior drug convictions and is with running a multi-million dollar credit card scam through a phony tuxedo rental business. Attorney’s for The Inc. are attempting to prevent the jurors from hearing evidence related to 50 Cent’s shooting, claiming it has nothing to do with money laundering charges.
"With the introduction of contradictory evidence…the trial will be overwhelmed by an irrelevant sideshow about who shot 50 Cent," the Lorenzo’s attorney Gerald Lefcourt said in court filings.Lefcourt and Gerald Shargel have countered the government’s claims that McGriff ordered the shooting, alleging that the original gunman was Darryl “Hommo” Baum. At one point, an aggravated Shargel could be heard yelling from the judge’s chambers: “Hommo [Baum] did it, Hommo did it, Hommo did it. Even 50 Cent says it!”
Lefcourt and Shargel portrayed Ragin as a habitual liar who was involved in prostitution, money laundering and other schemes. The defense also introduced 50 Cent’s lyrics to “Many Men,” interviews conducted by 50 Cent in which he named Baum as his shooter and Ethan Brown’s investigative book, Queens Reigns Supreme, which hits stores today.
Prosecutors contend that it was safer for 50 Cent to attribute his shooting to a dead man, because the alleged triggerman, [Lyons], was still alive. The jury has not been allowed to hear any of this yet, as none of it has been entered into evidence. Actual testimony in front of jurors relating to The Inc.’s federal money laundering trial only lasted about two hours. Around noon, Judge Edward Korman called recess to attend a funeral. When testimony resumed in front of jurors, New York Police Department detective Anthony Castiglia testified on behalf of the prosecution, attempting to prove that large sums of money could fit into shoe boxes to be laundered. Last week, defense attorney’s accused prosecution witness Donnell Nichols of lying because $70,000 in $5 and $10 dollar bills could not in a shoe box. Castiglia said he successfully stuffed over $7,000 in $1 dollar bills into an Adidas shoebox, attempting to prove that large sums of money could have been laundered in this fashion.
The defense countered, saying no one knew the actual size of the boxes and therefore an accurate dollar estimate could not be determined. The prosecution did note that the defendants were more likely to wear sneakers and Timberland boots, as opposed to dress shoes. Testimony continues today (Nov. 22).