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Lil' Kim faces November trial

Rapper Lil’ Kim is being tried on charges that she lied to a grand jury investigating a 2001 shootout.
/ Source: Reuters

Hip-hop artist Lil’ Kim will go on trial in November on charges she lied to a grand jury investigating a 2001 shootout involving members of her entourage outside a Manhattan radio station, a federal judge said Monday.

U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch said the trial would begin November 15 and would last until about December 6.

Lil’ Kim, 28, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, was among four people, including one of her managers, named in an indictment unsealed last week in Manhattan federal court.

She is charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction. The obstruction count carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and all the other charges carry possible five-year terms.

“Kim is not a criminal,” her lawyer, Mel Sachs, told reporters after the hearing. “These charges have been extracted out of context, magnified out of proportion. She’s been singled out and used because of who she is in the music industry.”

The diminutive Kim, wearing a black vest secured with a wide weight-lifter style brown leather belt and large buckle, made no comment.

The charges stem from a Feb. 25, 2001, incident outside Hot 97 radio station, where Jones and associates from the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. had appeared as on-air guests.

After they left the studio, members of Jones’ entourage and a rival hip-hop group were involved in a shootout, in which one man was injured.

A video showed Jones standing on the street during the shootout and then jumping into a limo with people suspected in the incident.

Jones and Monique Dopwell, a friend who was with her at the time, were indicted for lying to the grand jury about their knowledge of the shooters and the motive behind the incident.

The two other defendants in the case, Damion Butler, one of her managers, and Suif Jackson, a bodyguard and friend, were indicted for firing guns during the incident. Jackson is charged with firing a fully automatic machine gun. Both men are currently serving prison terms for state weapons charges.

Sachs told the judge he would file a motion seeking to have his client’s case separated from that against Butler and Jackson because she is not accused of firearm crimes.

Instead, Jones and Dopwell are accused of repeatedly stating that Butler was not present during the incident. Jones is also accused of denying that she knew Jackson.

Jones, who plays up the image of a sexy, scantily clad gangstress as Lil’ Kim, won a Grammy Award in 2001 for teaming up with Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Missy Elliott for a remake of “Lady Marmalade,” on the soundtrack to the hit film “Moulin Rouge.”

She released her latest album, “La Bella Mafia,” last year.