Lil’ Kim was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice Wednesday by a grand jury in a New York federal courtroom. The charge stems from the rapper’s alleged involvement in a three-year-old shootout that occurred outside the offices of New York radio station Hot 97.
The 28-year-old MC, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is charged with conspiracy to commit perjury, make false statements and obstruct justice; perjury before the grand jury; the making of false statements; and obstruction of justice, according to court documents.
Indictments occur when a grand jury decides that there is sufficient evidence for a case to go to trial. They do not determine guilt. Kim is expected to appear in court to face the charges at an arraignment hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (April 14).
The rapper allegedly lied to investigators about her involvement in the shooting, which left one man, Efrain Ocasio, shot in the back. The initial police report said Kim was not present when shots rang out just after 3 p.m. on February 25, 2001, but two days later they determined she was on the scene. When questioned by police the following day in her New Jersey home, Kim claimed to have no knowledge of what caused the bullets to fly and refused to tell police who had accompanied her to the radio station.
Kim and her friend Monique Dopwell (a.k.a. Mo Betta) also allegedly lied when later questioned by a grand jury in connection with the investigation.
Police believe the dispute stemmed from an ongoing feud between Kim and rap rival Foxy Brown. As Lil’ Kim and her entourage left WQHT-FM’s Houston Street offices, Capone, of rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga, and his companions were entering. At the time, Capone-N-Noreaga’s latest album, The Reunion, included the track “Bang Bang,” on which Foxy Brown called Kim’s album Notorious K.I.M. “weak” and “lame.” Words were exchanged between the two groups before gunfire erupted (see “Shooting Rattles Radio Station After Lil’ Kim Visit” ).
According to the indictment, Kim and Dopwell, who also faces the same perjury charge, were outside when Damion Butler (a.k.a. D-Roc), Suif Jackson (a.k.a. C-Gutta) and at least one other person fired guns, including a fully automatic Mac-11 machine gun, outside the radio station.
Butler, 33, has been charged with possession of a firearm, while Jackson, 34, faces that charge and two for illegal possession of a machine gun and transportation of that weapon across state lines, having brought the gun with him from New Jersey.
In her grand-jury testimony, Kim claimed that Butler was not with her at the time and that she didn’t even know Jackson.
If convicted, Kim and Dopwell each face a maximum sentence of more than 30 years behind bars: five years in prison for conspiracy, five years on each of the perjury counts, five years on each of the false-statement counts, and 10 years on the obstruction-of-justice charge.
The rift between Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown seems to have started — on wax, at least — with Lil’ Cease’s “Play Around” in 1999, on which Kim first took a lyrical swing at Brown. Notorious K.I.M. furthered the war of words between the feuding female MCs.
A week after the incident, Brown proposed an end to the feud, but Kim never responded (see “Foxy Brown Makes Peace Offering To Lil’ Kim” ).
A separate indictment charged Butler and Lil’ Kim’s manager Hillary Weston with conspiracy to misuse a passport and the misuse of a U.S. passport. Butler allegedly secured a passport in someone else’s name and then used that passport to travel internationally with Weston.
If convicted on all charges, Butler could receive maximum prison sentences of 10 years on the firearms charge, five years on the passport-fraud-conspiracy charge, and 10 years on each of the passport-fraud charges.
Weston, 33, faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Jackson could receive as much as 10 years on each of his four firearms charges. Both Butler and Jackson are currently in jail on other charges.