The trial of Irv and Chris
“Gotti” Lorenzo on federal money laundering charges continued yesterday
(Nov. 21) opening with Judge Edward Korman hearing evidence about 50 Cent’s
May 2000 shooting.
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”
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
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).