Judge to add more defendants to case involving slain rapper Notorious BIG

first_imgWallace was gunned down March 9, 1997, after attending a party at the Peterson Automotive Museum on the Miracle Mile. His murder remains unsolved. Wallace’s family claims that Knight — who employed off-duty LAPD officers as security guards — ordered Wallace’s death as part of a feud between Death Row and its East Coast rap music rival Bad Boy Records. Wallace — better known as “The Notorious B.I.G.” or “Biggie Smalls” — was a star for Bad Boy. Wallace’s family alleges that new evidence has emerged that shows Knight conspired with Perez and fellow LAPD Officer David Mack to commit Wallace’s murder. Mack is serving 14 years in federal prison for a bank robbery conviction. At this morning’s hearing, Robert J. Frank, attorney for the Wallace estate, argued that new evidence — taken from a statement by Mack’s former cellmate — proves that Mack provided security for Knight the night of Wallace’s murder and was present at the crime scene. A federal judge indicated today she will add more defendants to the wrongful-death lawsuit the estate of murdered rapper Christopher Wallace filed against the city of Los Angeles. At a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said she will issue a final order sometime soon that may formally add Death Row Records executive Marion “Suge” Knight and disgraced ex-LAPD Officer Rafael Perez, among others, as defendants. Perez was a central figure in the Rampart corruption scandal that hit the LAPD in the late 1990s. “Plaintiffs have presented evidence that indicates Perez was on duty the night of the murder and may have been at the scene of the crime in an official capacity,” Cooper wrote in her tentative order, issued Friday. “Through his police contacts, Knight knew where Wallace was and sent Mack to take care of him,” Frank said. Wallace’s family wants the case to be finished, but not without all the evidence available to them, he said. Thomas Reichert, an attorney representing the city, dismissed the new evidence as “old wine, new bottles” and information gleaned from “jailhouse informants trying to catch a deal.” The new statement implicating Mack in Wallace’s death was unreliable hearsay, he added. Reichert also said the Wallace family’s lawsuit was based on information reported in the media, specifically a 2001 Rolling Stone magazine article alleging LAPD involvement in his death. In 2005, Cooper declared a mistrial in the case when it emerged that the city failed to turn over statements a jailhouse information made implicating Perez in Wallace’s killing. New evidence came out since the mistrial allowing Knight and Reggie Wright Jr., a former LAPD officer who formed a private security company, to be added as defendants, Cooper wrote. Today, Cooper said she would factor in arguments made by attorneys on both sides in a hearing this morning before issuing her final order. For more news and observations about crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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