NEW YORK — Last week, representatives for 50 Cent made it clear that the rapper would be willing to take legal action against anyone claiming he was involved in the roughing up of the 14-year-old son of the Game's manager, Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond.
Now, 50 is speaking out, saying in a statement released through his lawyers that he is launching his own investigation into the incident. Tony Yayo, a member of 50's G-Unit, was arrested last week in connection with the alleged attack on the teen (see "G-Unit's Tony Yayo Arrested — Reportedly For Slapping Game's Manager's Teen Son").
"We are conducting our own investigation to determine exactly what happened in Manhattan on Tuesday, March 20th," lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement. "One thing I can say with absolute certainty, however, is that at the time of the alleged incident, 50 Cent was not in New York State."
At a press conference held Monday (April 2) in midtown Manhattan, Richard I. Reich, an attorney for the alleged victim's mom Cynthia Reed, also confirmed his office was looking further into the incident. "We're going to wait and see what happens through the courts," Reich said afterward. "[But] we're conducting our own investigation. We know the police are, [and ultimately] we think justice will be found in the courts for those involved."
Supporters at the press conference included Al Sharpton; representatives for Rosemond's company, Czar Entertainment; actor Michael K. Williams; and the family of slain Busta Rhymes bodyguard Israel Ramirez. Russell Simmons and Dr. Ben Chavis of the Hip-Hop Action Summit Network were invited to attend but instead issued a statement declaring their neutrality in the matter. Rosemond was not in attendance.
At a rally held later in the afternoon outside the offices of Interscope Records — 50 and Yayo's recording home — Reed, with her attorney by her side as a group of demonstrators chanted "Ban 50 Cent" and "Save hip-hop" while stomping G-Unit CDs, remarked that if 50 wanted to get involved, she would certainly welcome his participation.
"All I want him to do is ... keep the peace and stop the violence. Make good music, make your money," she said. "But if you want to involve the children, involve them in a good way. ... If you want to promote violence, then you need to step down, because that's not what hip-hop stands for."
A few hours later, however, in a statement released to MTV News, the mother of the assaulted son took a more assertive stance on the matter.
"Week after week passes and we keep hearing that 50 is going to 'authorize' an investigation into Tony Yayo's assault on my little boy," the statement read. "Why not just give Yayo a polygraph test? Or talk to the two witnesses that identified Yayo at the scene? While 50 is at it, perhaps he can find the real killers of Nicole Simpson, Laci Peterson and JFK. Instead, all 50 has done is sic a bunch of little lawyers with big mouths on me and my lawyer. I'm not impressed with his efforts thus far."
A response from 50 Cent was not available at press time.
Brafman has insisted since Yayo was arrested that 50 wasn't in New York (see "50 Cent 'Not In New York State' At Time Of Yayo Incident, Lawyer Says"), contradicting a statement issued by Reed, in which she named 50 along with Yayo as being involved in the alleged attack. Rosemond's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, told the New York Post last week that while 50 wasn't involved in the alleged beating, the G-Unit boss gave the "hand signal that started the whole thing."
Brafman called for a retraction of those comments and said he would file a defamation suit against Lichtman if the statements were not recalled. Lichtman did not return calls for comment at press time and Brafman declined to speak in more detail about the investigation.
Later in the day, however, Brafman issued yet another statement regarding what he called the "manufactured" and "manipulative" press conference and rally held this morning. "It's sad that children were manipulated by a business rival for a cheap photo opportunity," his comments read.
Brafman also responded directly to Reed's comments regarding 50's commitment to children as he highlighted the youth foundation the rap star established. Brafman finished by dismissing today's activities as a smear campaign against his client.
"It is clear that today's spectacle had nothing to do with any alleged confrontation and was simply ... a reason to attack 50 Cent and his business," he said.
[This story was originally published at 04:19 p.m. ET on 04.02.2007]