Beanie Sigel's Attempted-Murder Retrial Begins In Philadelphia

Rapper's defense attorney tries to discredit alleged victim.

After two days of jury selection, Beanie Sigel's attempted murder retrial began Wednesday (September 21) with the rapper's lawyer attempting to discredit the alleged victim.

At the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, where a 2004 jury deadlocked after a trial that drew spectators Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Kanye West (see "Beanie Sigel's Attempted-Murder Trial Ends With Hung Jury"), defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. attacked Terrance Speller for being drunk and high on marijuana the night of the alleged shooting on July 1, 2003, on a crowded street near a strip club.

According to The Associated Press, Perri prompted a smile from Sigel when he also asked Speller about his pending civil suit seeking medical expenses from the rapper.

Also potentially damaging to Assistant District Attorney Lynn Nichols' case against Sigel is that Speller first told police he was shot during a robbery and then blamed the rapper the next day. In court Wednesday, Speller said he "wanted to make sure I was going to be all right and my family was going to be all right," according to AP.

The alleged victim also testified that he had a verbal dispute the night of the shooting with the daughter of Sigel's girlfriend, a possible motive for the shooting.

In her opening argument Nichols asked the jury to put aside Sigel's fame and focus on the facts, including that Sigel nor anyone else volunteered to help Speller after he was shot or give police information.

The trial is expected to last through the week, with Speller's friend David Aimes being the prosecution's other key witness.

Damon Dash was in court to support Sigel on Wednesday and told AP, "We just want to get back to him having a normal life and a normal career."

Sigel, who was just released from federal prison on a separate weapons charge (see "Beanie Sigel Released From Prison"), has a long arrest record and faces another trial for allegedly fracturing a man's eye socket during a January 2003 fight.