Rapper Lil’ Kim believed she was above the law and that being a Grammy-winning superstar allowed her to lie to a grand jury investigating a wild shootout outside a Manhattan radio station, a federal prosecutor said during closing arguments Monday.
Lil’ Kim, 30, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is on trial for lying to a federal grand jury investigating two of her associates, Suif Jackson and Damion Butler, in a 2001 shootout with a rival hip-hop group.
Both men have pleaded guilty to firing shots that left one man injured.
Prosecutors say Lil’ Kim tried to protect the two by telling the grand jury during its 2003 probe that Butler, one of her former managers, was not there that day and that she did not know Jackson.
“Maybe Kimberly Jones bought into her own image. Maybe she believed she was a Queen Bee above the law. That for a multifaceted superstar the rules are different for her,” said Cathy Seibel, assistant U.S. Attorney. Queen Bee is Lil’ Kim’s record label.
Lil’ Kim’s lawyer Mel Sachs argued that his client had no reason to lie because she had severed her relationship with both Jackson and Butler well before being questioned before the grand jury.
“Kimberly Jones did not have any reason to protect either one of them,” Sachs said. “She opened up her house to them. She paid their expenses ... she was used by them.”
Dressing down for courtLil’ Kim, known for her racy outfits and sexually explicit language, has dressed demurely during the trial and Monday she wore a pink blouse and charcoal gray suit.
The case stems from a Feb. 25, 2001, incident outside Hot 97 radio station where Lil’ Kim and associates from the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. had appeared as on-air guests.
After they left the studio that Sunday afternoon, members of her entourage and a rival hip-hop group were involved in the shootout. Prosecutors said some 30 bullets were fired from six guns in what they described as a “Wild West shootout.”
Lil’ Kim testified last week that she had been traumatized by the shooting and could not remember Butler being at the scene when she was questioned in front of the grand jury. She also said she could not identify a picture of Jackson, a friend she had known since she was a teen-ager.
Seibel called Lil’ Kim’s testimony “preposterous” and said it insulted the Manhattan federal jury’s intelligence.
Video cameras at the station and on the street showed Butler was part of the group. He can be seen escorting Lil’ Kim and others into the radio station and later standing on the street next to the performer when the shooting started.