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Deliberations start in hip-hop label trial

  |   Dec. 1, 2005 at 12:48 PM
NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Deliberations began Thursday in the New York federal money laundering trial of the founding brothers of hip-hop label Murder Inc., now known as The Inc.

Some of hip-hop's finest were in the courtroom for Wednesday's closing arguments in the trial of Irving and Christopher Gotti, who are accused of starting their label with drug money and laundering more than $1 million through their record label.

Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Ashanti, Russell Simmons, Damon Dash and Fat Joe along with poker pro Phil Ivey, turned out to support the Gottis, MTV.com reported.

Simmons called the trial "a tremendous waste of resources," adding: "Poverty and ignorance (are) more of a problem in our community than convicting our poets."

Prosecutor Carolyn Porkorny reiterated the government's case, charging dirty, filthy dope money" flowed through the label.

The defense told the jury the entire case was "built on speculation and guesswork" with no real evidence against the Gottis.

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