The federal wrongful-death case of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace abruptly halted Wednesday.
After just three days of testimony, a federal judge in Los Angeles declared a mistrial, The Associated Press reports, following concern that police had been withholding evidence (see “Judge Considering Mistrial In Notorious B.I.G. Civil Case” ).
The lawsuit, filed by Wallace’s family’s, seeks to lay blame for the New York rapper’s death in the collective hands of the city of Los Angeles; the suit sought unspecified damages against the municipality.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office would not comment until receiving the official ruling from the judge, but on Thursday afternoon the late rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, held a press conference in Los Angeles.
“Little did we suspect so many lies [would] be told under the penalty of perjury,” attorney Perry Sanders, head of the Wallace family’s legal team, said. Sanders urged anyone with information on Biggie’s 1997 murder or corruption in the LAPD to contact him immediately.
“This [case] sends a message you cannot trust the police,” he said, adding that the entire department is not corrupt, but rather some crooked officers “give good cops bad names.”
“It’s time to clean house at the LAPD at the highest level,” he continued.
Voletta Wallace told the media that the wrongful death suit was not about money, it was about honesty, integrity and her son’s life. “It has nothing to do with dollars and cents,” she said.
When asked about how she felt about the revelation that the LAPD withheld evidence, she said she wasn’t surprised, because she’d been tipped off by a source within the organization.
“Eight years, three months and 29 days to this day that my son was murdered in this city,” she vented. “I’ve labored with pain and sweat just to find what happened to my son.”
No new trial date has been set. Last month the case was put on hold after it turned up that the lawyer for the Wallace family had not received a substantial amount of evidence from the LAPD. In the short amount of time the Biggie trial had been in session, several startling revelations came about, including a former FBI agent and a prison inmate linking Biggie’s death to Death Row Records (see “Notorious B.I.G. Wrongful-Death Trial Halted After New Informant Surfaces” ).
For more on Biggie, check out the feature “Still The Illest,” in which Jay-Z, Kanye, Jada, Alicia and others share their favorite Notorious B.I.G. verses.
[This story was originally published at 8:49 p.m. EDT on 07.06.2005]