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B.I.G.'s family seeks $2 million from L.A.

Rapper's relatives seek to recoup costs after last month's mistrial
/ Source: The Associated Press

Notorious B.I.G.’s family is asking the city for more than $2 million in fees and costs stemming from police misconduct during the rap star’s federal wrongful death trial last month.

The request comes after U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in July declared a mistrial, determining that a police detective had intentionally concealed documents. The judge ordered the city to pay “fees and costs incurred as a result of defendants’ misconduct.”

Motions filed in U.S. District Court request that Los Angeles pay about $1.6 million in attorneys fees and around $500,000 for travel and other expenses, attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said Tuesday.

To determine that amount, Sanders said his team “went back to the date where they made their disclosures on the record, saying that they had given us every little thing.”

Assistant City Attorney Don Vincent said he had not yet seen the motion, but his immediate reaction was that $2.1 million seemed excessive.

“They have to really justify it well,” he said. “I don’t know what their logic is or anything.”

The documents uncovered during trial detail Detective Steven Katz’s investigation of a prison informant’s claim that corrupt former LAPD officers Rafael Perez and David Mack were involved in killing the 24-year-old rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace.

Wallace’s family said in their suit that Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight ordered Mack to kill the rapper, and that Mack’s college roommate was the gunman. The link to Perez emerged only after an anonymous tip during trial.

Wallace was 24 when he was gunned down in 1997 while leaving a crowded late-night party at a Los Angeles museum. The rotund New York rapper also known as Biggie Smalls was one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the 1990s. His albums “Ready To Die” and the posthumously released “Life After Death” are regularly listed among the best in the genre.

Family members including the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and widow, R&B star Faith Evans, are expected to refile their wrongful death suit, naming Perez as a defendant and alleging racketeering at the LAPD.