Even with a 98% conviction rate, the federal government was no match for Irv Gotti and the Murder Inc. crew.
On this date in 2005, the U.S. government exonerated Irv and Chris Gotti along with their Murder Inc. after a two-year-long case in which the Lorenzo brothers were forced to prove that their successful, multi-million dollar record label was not a money-laundering operation for Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff of Queens’ legendary Supreme Team.
Even with multi-platinum artists such as Ja Rule, Ashanti, and Lil’ Mo, the Def Jam subsidiary was still questioned about their affiliation with McGriff after Gotti funded a movie directed by the Supreme Team leader entitled Crime Partners, which was inspired by the infamous novel by famed author Donald Goines.
Following the January 2003 raid on the Murder Inc. offices, things for the crew were never the same. Gotti spent upwards of $10 million in legal fees fighting the government, the label had no distribution during the entire trial, and the war with a rival rapper from Jamaica, Queen named 50 Cent had just begun. Nevertheless, the crew dropped the Murder moniker, never waived the white flag, and stood tall against the government until they were victorious. Salute!