NEW YORK — Lil' Cease says he just didn't have a choice.
If you're from the streets, one of the most honored codes is that you don't tell, especially not on your friends. And although he testified against his estranged friend Lil' Kim in her perjury trial, he maintains he's not a snitch.
"Being that Kim took the case to trial, they subpoenaed all the witnesses," Cease said on Friday (see "Lil' Kim Found Guilty Of Lying To Grand Jury, Investigators"). "Me and Kim wasn't on good terms for the moment, and she made it clear to the world that she didn't want to have anything to do with me and my peoples. So she wasn't trying to call us to her defense. Being that we was witnesses there, the U.S. government subpoenaed us. And there's nothing you can do about that. When you're subpoenaed, you either come or they take your ass to jail. It's just that simple."
Cease said his appearance in court was the first time he had seen his onetime close friend in several years.
"All the sh-- I been through, this is the first time that I've touched the stand. ... It was just sick. But at the end of the day ... that sh-- was like business," he said. "When [the feds] come in there, they're not playing. With this whole war on rap and these feds and this rap patrol, it's serious. They're looking for someone to make an example of." (For more on the alleged war on rap, check out our investigative report "Is The NYPD At War With Hip-Hop?")
Biggie's onetime hype man and best friend said the Queen Bee should have never taken her perjury case to trial and should have accepted a plea bargain. Cease described the case the prosecution presented as practically insurmountable.
"She's supposed to have caught the picture that they were trying to put [her] away," Cease vented. "But she felt like she could beat them, and I don't know what she was trying to do with that. These federal people knew everything. They had phone taps, they had the video cameras from the [shooting at Hot 97]. They had that all on tape. They had pictures, they had two-way messages. Remember, [the shooting] was in 2001. So they worked on it for about two or three years, and they pulled everybody in there. My peoples, Rock and Gutta, they copped out to the case once they knew they couldn't win it. Shorty thought she could take it further, and she did what she thought she had to do."
The new leader of the Junior M.A.F.I.A. said that despite Kim's conviction, he doesn't expect her to do much time because her record is "as clean as a virgin." Cease also made it clear that despite their ties being severed, he hates to see the woman he was once close to go to prison (see "Lil' Kim Won't Get Maximum Sentence, Expert Predicts").
"No matter what our situations, I didn't have no problems with her," he insisted. "My thing was she didn't call me to her defense, so I left it at that. She could have called me, she could have subpoenaed me as well, but it was the U.S. government that subpoenaed me. She don't mess with me and my dudes, so we kept our distance from them."