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Hip-Hop News: Court Witness Burned By Rap Lawyer
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
11/18/2005 7:57:00 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Irv Gotti.

Lawyer for rap mogul shows bills wouldn't fit in box. If the bills don't fit, you must acquit.

Irving (Irv Gotti) Lorenzo's lawyer took a page from the O.J. Simpson criminal defense playbook yesterday to discredit a key government witness' claim that a druglord delivered a shoebox stuffed with $70,000 in cash to the Murder Inc. mogul's brother.

Armed with witness Donell Nichols' grand jury testimony that the shoebox was filled with $5s and $10s, defense lawyer Gerald Shargel calculated that would add up to at least 7,000 bills.

Then he pulled out a green Jay Kos shoebox - and a bag containing 7,000 fake bills that was twice the size of the cardboard box.

"I'd like you to fit all 7,000 bills in that shoebox," Shargel said. "Impossible, right?"

"I don't get it," replied a puzzled Nichols.

The stunt recalled the now-legendary episode in the Simpson murder trial when O.J. demonstrated to the jury that a bloody glove did not fit his hand.

Shargel's theatrics in Brooklyn Federal Court came on the second day of the Lorenzo brothers' trial on charges they laundered druglord Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff's dirty money through their rap label, whose artists include Ja Rule and Ashanti.

They also came as the feds scored a major victory: Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman ruled that prosecutors can offer evidence that the 2000 shooting of rapper 50 Cent was orchestrated by McGriff.

Prosecutor Sean Haran identified publicly for the first time Robert (Son) Lyons, a McGriff associate, as the shooter. Lyons later worked as a bodyguard for Ja Rule.

Ja Rule, who has called the case against the Queens-reared Lorenzo brothers "a war against hip hop," was in the courtroom for the second day. He was joined by rap mogul Damon Dash.

The two were among those who heard Nichols - an intern and assistant to Christopher (Chris Gotti) Lorenzo for about six months in 2000 - testify about bagfuls of cash allegedly handed off to his boss by McGriff.

In return for the illicit cash, Christopher Lorenzo allegedly ordered checks made out to a sham film production company controlled by McGriff, Nichols said.

He also told jurors that Christopher Lorenzo authorized payments for McGriff's travel around the country, which federal prosecutors contend was part of the brothers' scheme to launder the cash. "We owe that n-----, he's there for us," Nichols quoted Christopher Lorenzo as saying of McGriff.

But on cross-examination, Nichols took a brutal bashing from Shargel.

The lawyer pointed out numerous instances in which Nichols provided misleading information about his Navy record, work history and ties to the hip-hop record label after he no longer worked there.

In one odd moment, Nichols, 31, revealed his nickname at Murder Inc. was Dufresne - after the Tim Robbins character in "The Shawshank Redemption" because he "didn't fit in the element he was around."

If convicted, 34-year-old Irving Lorenzo and 38-year-old Christopher Lorenzo face up to 20 years in prison and the forfeiture of millions.

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