The Notorious B.I.G. wrongful-death trial was set in limbo for two days on Monday following the eleventh-hour emergence of a jailhouse informant’s statement to police that two of the trial’s central figures — a pair of Los Angeles cops — moonlighted as sentinels for Marion “Suge” Knight’s Death Row Records, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The informant, identified as Kenny Boagni, claims to have shared a cell with former Los Angeles police officer Rafael Perez, who was at one time partnered up with LAPD cop David Mack. A federal lawsuit filed by the slain rapper’s family contends that Mack, at the behest of Knight, conspired to have Biggie (born Christopher Wallace) killed. Lawyers for the Wallace family haven’t yet been able to link Mack to Knight or his Death Row label (see “Notorious B.I.G. Murder Informant Changes His Story” ).
But according to the Times, Boagni’s statement to police was read in court on Monday, out of earshot of the trial’s jurors. In it, Boagni claims that Perez — who served time for, among other things, stealing three kilos of cocaine from LAPD evidence facilities — and Mack both worked off-duty security details on the side for Knight and Death Row Records.
The statement also suggests that Perez was working for Death Row at the same L.A. party Biggie attended before he was gunned down in March 1997.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper halted the proceedings until Thursday, allowing both sides time to review the statement, the Associated Press reports. Wallace family attorney Perry Sanders Jr. characterized the documents as “huge,” according to the wire service, which quoted him as saying, “There is apparently a witness on tape saying Mack and Perez worked security for Death Row Records, which absolutely goes to the heart of this case” (see “Former FBI Informant Links Death Row To Biggie Slaying” ).
While Biggie’s murder remains unsolved, jurors in the civil suit will decide who can be held accountable for his death. They must consider whether Mack hatched a plot to kill the rapper before they can find fault with city policy and rule on damages, the Times reports.