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Lil’ Kim’s credibility attacked by prosecutor

Rapper had racked up expenses while owning almost $1 mil in back taxes
/ Source: Reuters

Lil’ Kim’s credibility was attacked by a federal prosecutor Friday when she showed a Manhattan jury the Grammy-winning rapper had racked up huge personal expenses while owing almost $1 million in back taxes.

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 gun battle with a rival hip-hop group outside a Manhattan radio station. Both men have pleaded guilty to firing shots in the incident 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 was not there that day and that she did not know Jackson.

Lil’ Kim, who denies the charges, took the stand for a second day, dressed demurely with a strawberry pink bow tie at her neck, a matching woven skirt and a cream pique jacket with raised daisies. Her courtroom image sharply contrasts with her rapper identity fashioned with racy outfits and sexually explicit language.

Although the indictment does not include tax charges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathy Seibel questioned Lil’ Kim about the tax debt in front of the Manhattan federal jury to bolster the government’s portrayal of the performer as a liar who believes she is above the law.

$2 million homeDuring cross-examination, Seibel raised the issue of Lil’ Kim’s tax debt of close to $1 million. She introduced a 1994 tax document, signed by the performer that shows monthly expenses of over $37,000. The same document shows her monthly income as $30,000.

“Have you cut back on your lifestyle and budgeted yourself to pay the IRS? the prosecutor asked.

“Yeah, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t,” Lil’ Kim said.

Seibel said that Lil’ Kim had purchased a home for over $2 million in 2002 when she still owed close to $300,000 in taxes. The prosecutor also introduced as evidence a mortgage application, signed by Lil’ Kim, that did not disclose her tax debt.

Lil’ Kim said that her business manager and accountant had told her everything was fine. “I go by whatever they tell me to do,” said the performer, who said she did not do any of her own financial paperwork. “This is how I delegate my business. They tell me everything is fine ... I move on with my life.”

The prosecutor then questioned her about earlier testimony in which Lil’ Kim said that she owned about $500,000 worth of jewelry.

Seibel said that Lil’ Kim had reported to the IRS her jewelry was worth $49,000.

“The document says you own one-tenth of that,” Seibel said.

Lil’ Kim said she had probably signed the document without reading it.

“I’m not going to lie about this. I have nothing to hide, you can call my accountant,” she said.