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  • Notorious B.I.G.'s Family Seeks $2 Million In Legal Fees

    A month after a judge declared a mistrial in the wrongful-death suit brought by the family of Notorious B.I.G. against the city of Los Angeles, the late rapper's relatives are asking for payback.
    The family is seeking more than $2 million in trial-related costs, according to the Los Angeles Times. In July, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper declared a mistrial in the family's suit over B.I.G.'s unsolved 1997 murder, reprimanding city lawyers for deliberately withholding pertinent documents (see "Notorious B.I.G. Wrongful-Death Case Declared A Mistrial"). At the time, the judge ordered the city to pay the family's legal bills.
    According to motions filed in U.S. District Court, the family is seeking $1.6 million in lawyers' fees and close to $500,000 for travel and other miscellaneous expenses. The Associated Press reports that Assistant City Attorney Don Vincent, who had not yet seen the request, felt that the figure was excessive. "They have to really justify it well," Vincent said. "I don't know what their logic is or anything." During the trial, lawyers uncovered documents from a Los Angeles Police Department detective's investigation into a prison informant's claim that two corrupt former LAPD officers were involved in the killing of the 24-year-old rap star (see "Notorious B.I.G. Wrongful-Death Trial Halted After New Informant Surfaces"). B.I.G.'s family alleged in their suit that Death Row Records boss Marion "Suge" Knight ordered one of the officers to kill Biggie and that the officer's college roommate was the trigger man.
    The mistrial came after only three days of testimony, when the proceedings were interrupted by an anonymous tip that led to the discovery of LAPD documents that hadn't been turned over to family attorneys. Judge Cooper's concern over hearing that the police department had deliberately withheld evidence in the case led to an immediate declaration of mistrial.
    The family is expected to refile the wrongful-death suit, naming former officer Rafael Perez as a defendant and alleging that the LAPD was involved in racketeering in connection with the murder, according to the AP report. Also on Wednesday (August 17), the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to meet in a closed session to consider the family's offer to settle the case for $18 million. It's likely they'll reject that offer. "I'm not prepared to pay $18 million to settle that case," councilman and former police sergeant Dennis Zine told the Times.

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