After only three days of testimony, the Notorious B.I.G. wrongful death case was declared a mistrial July 6th when a large number of LAPD documents were discovered. U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said she was concerned the police department deliberately withheld the evidence.
The late rapper, whose real name is Christopher Wallace, was gunned down in March 1997 following a music industry after-party in L.A. The case remains unsolved and there have been rumors flying for years about off-duty police officers allegedly being involved.
The rapper’s mother, Violetta Wallace, the entertainer’s estate and other relatives sued the city, claiming Los Angeles Police Department officials covered up police involvement with the murder.
A paid informant gave a homicide investigator information that allegedly backs up the claim of a police conspiracy, linking former LAPD officer Rafael Perez — a main figure in the department’s Rampart corruption scandal — and former Los Angeles police officer David Mack. The evidence was allegedly forgotten — a claim the judge found “absolutely incredible.”
Family attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said the case would now delve into the LAPD’s Rampart corruption scandal.
“We’re about to get to the bottom of Rampart,” Sanders said. “We’re about to peel the onion back to its rotten core.”
In contrast, Assistant City Attorney Don Vincent said he would still like to try the case on its merits.
Mack, once accused of arranging Biggie’s murder, is claiming he was approached by a lawyer representing B.I.G.’s family and asked to lie on the stand to help them win their wrongful death lawsuit.
Mack, who is serving a 14-year sentence for bank robbery, told the Los Angeles Times the family’s lawyers urged him to invoke the Fifth Amendment in court and refuse to answer questions so he’d look guilty. He was allegedly told he wouldn’t have to pay any damages awarded by the court because the lawyers would go after the city of Los Angeles for the money.
Mack also said the lawyers offered to help him bring his own suit against the city for failing to provide him with adequate legal counsel. He said he turned down the offer and his own attorney, Marc Harris, alerted the U.S. Attorney’s office about the alleged offer, the Times said.
The Wallace family’s lawyers, Sanders and Robert Frank, told the paper that Mack’s allegations are groundless and no such offer was made to the ex-police officer.
Mack and his college roommate, Amir Muhammad, were dropped as defendants in the wrongful death claim in June after a paid informant admitted his statement about corrupt police officers and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight plotting to kill the rapper was mostly hearsay. He also described himself as a paranoid schizophrenic.