Rapper Remy Ma goes on trial in NY for shooting woman

Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:53pm EDT
 
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. rapper Remy Ma, furious after a wad of cash disappeared from her purse at a party, shot a woman, fled the scene and then tried to intimidate witnesses, prosecutors told a Manhattan jury on Monday.

The Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name is Remy Smith, is charged with assault, witness intimidation and related charges for shooting Makeda Barnes-Joseph after discovering that $3,000 was missing from her purse.

She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars.

Shortly after leaving a Manhattan nightclub, Smith climbed into Barnes-Joseph's car carrying a pistol, Assistant District Attorney Jason Berland told the 12 jurors. The two struggled over the woman's bag, and Barnes-Joseph was shot and wounded during the struggle.

Smith's lawyer Ivan Fisher said the incident was an accident and portrayed Barnes-Joseph as a celebrity groupie who misrepresented what happened in hopes of winning money from Smith. "This case will leave you with enormous doubt," he said.

The prosecutor portrayed Smith as irresponsible and calculating. After fleeing the scene, Smith slammed her car into a parked vehicle, badly damaging both.

Smith and her boyfriend, the rapper Papoose, were later behind the beating of two men, one of whom was the boyfriend of an eyewitness to the shooting, Berland said.

"(Smith) is not the type of person to sit back and let people testify against her," Berland said.

Smith, a Bronx native who now lives in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, won the 2005 BET award for best female hip-hop artist and was nominated for a Grammy in 2004 when she performed with Terror Squad for "Lean Back."

 
<p>Rapper Remy Ma arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court after returning from lunch in New York City, March 10, 2008. Ma is accused of shooting a woman at a New York City night club. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>