Rap artist Lil’ Kim pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that she lied to a grand jury looking into a Feb. 25, 2001, shootout involving members of her entourage outside the Hot 97 radio studios in New York’s Greenwich Village.
In what sounds like an echo of the case against Martha Stewart (who was convicted last month on four charges of lying to federal investigators probing a stock deal), Kim, 28, is charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction, reports Reuters.
The obstruction count carries a possible maximum prison term of 10 years and all the other charges carry possible five-year terms. U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Eaton permitted the hip-hop star to be released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond.
After the arraignment, Kim (real name: Kimberly Jones) told reporters she had been advised not to comment. But Gerald McKelvey, a spokesman for Kim and her manager and co-defendant Damion Butler, said: “They pleaded not guilty and expect to be vindicated in court.”
Kim’s move was expected, as her lawyers reportedly had earlier arranged the terms of her surrender. She was among four people named in the indictment unsealed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.
The shootout allegedly arose from a feud between Lil’ Kim’s associates and those of a rival rap artist, Foxy Brown. Brown reportedly dissed Kim in a performance on an album she did with the rapper Capone.
Capone’s pal Efrain Ocasio, now 33, was shot in the upper back. He was treated in a hospital and released with the slug still in him.
Kim allegedly told investigators she did not know what led to the fight or the gunfire, though news reports say that a security camera’s video of the incident shows Kim standing on the street when the bullets start flying, then jumping into a stretch limo.
Investigators descended upon the Manhattan headquarters of Lil’ Kim’s label this week, after which lawyers for the rapper reputedly negotiated the terms that allowed her to surrender.