Pop Culture

Lil’ Kim pal admits role in shootout

An associate of rapper Lil’ Kim testified at the performer’s perjury trial on Wednesday that he opened fire with a machine gun outside a Manhattan radio station during a shootout with a rival hip-hop group.

Lil’ Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is on trial in Manhattan federal court for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury investigating the roles of two of her associates -- Suif Jackson and Damion Butler -- in the 2001 gun battle that left one man injured.

Jackson, forced to appear as a witness under a government subpoena, has pleaded guilty to his role in the shootout but lacks an agreement to cooperate with the government.

He answered questions on the stand only after the judge granted him immunity from prosecution for anything he said in court.

Prosecutors say that Lil’ Kim told the grand jury she did not know Jackson while evidence shows the two have been friends for about a decade.

Jackson, responding to questions from a federal prosecutor, said he has known the Grammy-winning artist for about 10 years and was with her group the day of the shootout.

He admitted bringing a fully automatic machine gun with him from New Jersey and firing it during the fray. Asked why he had used the gun, he replied: “I was being fired on.”

Lil’ Kim, known for her racy outfits and sexually explicit language, sat demurely in court wearing conservative brown tweed culottes and matching vest.

Battle outside radio station
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.

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 during 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. At least one bullet went through a nearby apartment building.

A security camera video showed Lil’ Kim standing on the street during the shootout and then jumping into a limo with people suspected of being involved.

Damion Butler, another member of the entourage, also has pleaded guilty to using weapons in the shootout. Prosecutors charge that Lil’ Kim told the grand jury that Butler was not there that day.

Jackson’s court appearance came two days after a shootout at the same radio station stemming from a feud between rappers 50 Cent and Game. A man was shot in the leg during Monday’s incident.