March 14, 2008 / 7:14 PM / 10 years ago

At trial, woman says rapper Remy Ma shot her

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rapper Remy Ma discovered a wad of cash missing from her purse after a night out in New York and shot the woman she believed was the thief, the victim testified at the rapper’s assault trial on Friday.

Rapper Remy Ma (L) arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court after returning from lunch in New York City, March 10, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

The Grammy-nominated artist, whose real name is Remy Smith, is accused of assault, witness intimidation and other charges for shooting Makeda Barnes-Joseph in the abdomen after discovering $3,000 was missing from her purse.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if she is convicted.

Barnes-Joseph, a 23-year-old acquaintance of Smith’s held the rapper’s purse briefly during the evening.

Barnes-Joseph testified that Smith was angry and carrying a black and silver gun when she entered the driver’s side of her car about 3:30 a.m. on July 14, 2007. As the two struggled over Barnes-Joseph’s purse, Barnes-Joseph said she tried to calm Smith down.

“I knew that she was making a scene. I didn’t think she was going to shoot me, but she did. By the time she got in the car, she was in so much rage,” Barnes-Joseph said.

A bullet pierced Barnes-Joseph’s colon and hit her rectum. She spent three weeks in the hospital.

Smith’s lawyer, Ivan Fisher, called the shooting accidental and asked Barnes-Joseph if she was exaggerating the facts in order to win a large sum of money in a separate civil lawsuit filed against Smith.

The civil suit seeks at least $10 million dollars from Smith and others.

“I never had a civil suit before. I don’t know what’s helpful,” Barnes-Joseph said.

Smith, a Bronx native who lives in 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.”

Editing by Daniel Trotta

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