Judge Orders B.I.G. Payback

The federal judge who declared a mistrial in the Notorious B.I.G. wrongful death lawsuit has ordered the city of Los Angeles and its police department to repay the slain rapper’s family for its legal costs due to “defendants’ misconduct.”

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper declared a mistrial July 6th after only three days of testimony. She rejected LAPD Detective Steven Katz’s claim that he forgot he had documents related to the case in his desk drawer until his office was searched last month.

Those documents included Katz’s interviews with a prison informant who claimed former L.A. police officers Rafael Perez — a key figure in the department’s Rampart corruption scandal — and David Mack were involved in the 1997 murder of the East Coast rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace. The case remains unsolved.

Cooper also said the LAPD has yet to turn over files that include about 15 personnel complaint investigations against Mack.

“The detective, acting alone or in concert with others, made a decision to conceal from the plaintiffs in this case information which could have supported their contention that David Mack was responsible for the Wallace murder,” Cooper wrote in an order released July 7th.

Family attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said the lawsuit would be refiled in the future. It is expected to accuse the LAPD of racketeering and name Perez as a defendant.

Assistant City Attorney Don Vincent told The New York Times he’s ready to try the case on its merits.

“There is no evidence to indicate that any Los Angeles police officer was involved in this,” Vincent told the paper.

He also said the plaintiffs’ witnesses were spreading “heresy” that isn’t backed up by fact.