.

Gotti Brothers Found Not Guilty

Rap moguls cleared of laundering drug money, label to resume business

December 5, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Irv "Gotti" Lorenzo, CEO of the Inc., and brother Christopher were found not guilty of using their label to launder $1 million in drug money -- which the government had alleged was brought in by convicted Queens crack dealer Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff -- in Brooklyn federal court on Friday. The Lorenzos' record label, previously known as Murder Inc., was also acquitted. On hand at the courtroom to show support were Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Fat Joe, and label stars Ja Rule and Ashanti.

According to the charges -- the result of a three-year federal investigation involving the FBI, IRS, and New York and Baltimore city police -- the Inc. was part of a crack and heroin business run by McGriff. McGriff, a founder of the "Supreme Team" drug gang currently in prison on a gun charge, finished serving nine years for drug conspiracy in 1997. The Inc. was founded under the name Murder Inc. that same year. The Lorenzos' lawyer has stated that the Inc. is financed through cash from Island Def Jam.

While the prosecution had argued that the brothers regularly accepted cash from McGriff and his associates, the defense denied the laundering charges, portraying the Inc.'s ties to McGriff as more informal. "It made sense to work with [McGriff] because he provided a certain street credibility," the Lorenzos' lawyer stated, according to reports. "He also provided a deterrence to shakedown artists and thugs."

One juror, who would not give his name, told reporters outside the courthouse that the jury had trouble finding the government's witnesses -- including a former Inc. intern, a self-professed pimp and a drug dealer -- credible.

The Gottis, meanwhile, were visibly thrilled, at one point embracing members of the jury. "I'm overjoyed," Irv Gotti stated outside the courthouse, with Ja Rule at his side. "In this case, the government had it 100 percent wrong. They went after me because of someone I know. I would never have worked this hard, from nothing to having millions of dollars, to jeopardize it with something stupid or illegal." If convicted, the Gottis faced up to twenty years in prison.

As for the future of the Inc., Gotti announced, "Me and my Inc. family, you're going to be hearing some music [from us]."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com