James Rosemond is accused of paying thugs to gun down 50 Cent associate Lowell Fletcher in 2009 in a beef that began in the mid-2000s over rapper The Game, who split with 50 Cent and was managed by Rosemond. The defendant is already serving a life sentence for running a massive drug enterprise.
James (Jimmy Henchmen) Rosemond is on trial for allegedly paying men to gun down G-Unit member Lowell Fletcher in the culmination of a years-long beef between the mogul and the rappers.
Jurors heard the inside dope on the beef between hip hop mogul James (Jimmy Henchman) Rosemond and rapper 50 Cent’s crew G-Unit as Rosemond’s murder-for-hire trial got underway Monday.
“In the public eye and on the surface, Rosemond was known as an executive in the music industry,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Samson Enzer said during opening statements in Manhattan Federal Court. “But beneath the surface, Rosemond was known as a ruthless criminal who ran his rap business like a street gang.”
Rosemond — who is serving a life sentence for heading a massive drug enterprise — is accused of hiring thugs to gun down G-Unit associate Lowell Fletcher in 2009. Enzer said the killing was payback for when another G-Unit rapper slapped Rosemond’s 14-year-old son.
During the trial of the man accused of arranging the murder of Lowell Fletcher, pictured, prosecutors said jurors would get the inside dope on a violent beef between James Rosemond’s drug dealing gang and the G-Unit hip hop crew headed by rapper 50 Cent.
Rosemond, 49, has managed artists such as Brandy, Salt-n-Pepa, Sean Kingston, The Game and Akon.
Rosemond’s lawyer, J. Bruce Maffeo, asked jurors to dismiss testimony they will hear from members of Rosemond’s gang, noting, “These cooperating witnesses … are facing sentences that will literally keep them in prison for the rest of their natural lives.”
Rosemond, who has long been rumored to have orchestrated the shooting of rap legend Tupac Shakur in 1994, was convicted last year of using his record label as a front for an $11 million per-year drug enterprise that supplied Brooklyn and Queens with large amounts of cocaine.
Rapper Tupac Shakur was shot in 1994 — and James (Jimmy Henchman) Rosemond, currently on trial for another rapper’s killing-for-hire, has long been rumoured to to involved.
The trouble between Rosemond and G-Unit began in the mid-2000s over rapper The Game, who split with 50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, and was managed by Rosemond.
Determined to strike out at G-Unit, Rosemond and his associates carried out at least three acts of violence before the 2009 murder, Enzer said. But shootings outside a Manhattan office building, rap radio station Hot 97 and an awards show failed to slake Rosemond’s thirst for blood, the prosecutor said.
The split of rapper The Game, pictured, from 50 Cent and G-Unit is what sparked a beef between the 50 Cent crew and James Rosemond, who’s now on trial for allegedly arranging the killing-for-hire of G-Unit associate Lowell Fletcher.
Then rapper Tony Yayo and other G-Unit members were said to have roughed up Rosemond’s teenage son on W. 25th St. in Manhattan. It was the last straw, Enzer said.
“Rosemond decided that for slapping his son, a member of G-Unit had to die,” the prosecutor alleged. “His goal was to make sure that members of G-Unit had to carry a coffin.”
Enzer said Rosemond chose Fletcher because he saw the 33-year-old as the weak link in the G-Unit chain.
Lowell Fletcher, friend of 50 Cent, pictured,was killed due to a longstanding, escalating argument between the famed rapper and his friends and hip hop mogul James Rosemond, who’s now on trial for Lowell’s murder.
He had Brian (Slim) McLeod, who had just done time with Fletcher in jail, lure the victim to a deserted Bronx street corner with promises of money and drinks, the prosecutor said.
Derrick Grant and Rodney Johnson were waiting in the shadows and Grant pulled the trigger, Enzer said.
“In the darkness of that Sunday night, Lowell Fletcher looked around for Slim,” the prosecutor said. “But a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt came out of the shadows, pointed a gun with a silencer and shot … round after round.”
From left, 50 Cent, known as Curtis Jackson, poses with Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks from rap group G-Unit. An associate of these men, Lowell Fletcher, was murdered by men allegedly paid by rap mogul James (Jimmy Henchman) Rosemond.
Fletcher was shot in the back several times and died later that night, and Rosemond paid McLeod and Grant with a slab of cocaine worth $30,000.
Enzer said security video, cellphone call records and cellphone GPS data will show how Rosemond and Johnson, who is also on trial, were involved in the slaying.
Tony Yayo, pictured, beat a felony assault charge in connection a run-in with James Rosemond’s then-teenage son, pleading guilty to harassment. That run-in is what sparked Rosemond to hire thugs to kill an associate of Yayo and 50 Cent, Lowell Fletcher, prosecutors say.
In addition, jurors will hear from McLeod and other members of Rosemond’s gang who are testifying against him because they’ve copped pleas and want shorter sentences.
Johnson, 40, is facing drug trafficking charges in addition to murder-for-hire charges.
He was arrested after cops found him hiding under a piece of sheet rock in a cocaine stash spot, Enzer said.
Rosemond’s lawyer said of the cooperating witnesses: “These are individuals who have committed … every crime conceivable to any of us,” from dealing drugs at age 13 to shooting at innocent civilians.
Jurors heard Monday afternoon from two witnesses: Elizabeth Marte, a Bronx woman who performed CPR on Fletcher after he was shot on Jerome Ave., and Leta Bethel, Fletcher’s half-sister, who had gone shopping with her brother the day he died.
“I got a phone call from a detective,” Bethel testified Monday. “The detectives told me that my brother was murdered and I just started crying.”
In 2008, Tony Yayo, who real name is Marvin Bernard, beat a felony assault charge in connection with the run-in with Rosemond’s son. He pleaded guilty to harassment.
Rosemond has denied involvement in the Tupac shooting. Read more: nydailynews