AUDIO EVIDENCE FOR SALE

 

BY BEN WIDDICOMBE

A secret audio recording exists of the argument that sparked the fatal shooting of rapper Busta Rhymes’ bodyguard – apparently capturing the voice of the suspected killer who is believed to have called Rhymes a “bitch.”The recording could prove to be an explosive piece of evidence as cops hunt for the man who shot Israel Ramirez on Feb. 5 in Brooklyn, just feet from some hip hop & R&B acts such as , including Tony Yayo, DMX and Mary J. Blige.

A transcript of the recording, a portion of which the Daily News has reviewed, appears to confirm that Tony Yayo, a member of 50 Cent’s posse, was a central figure in the argument leading up to the shooting. A source familiar with the 53-minute recording believes the fight erupted when members of G-Unit were excluded from an onstage lineup of hip hop greats at the Brooklyn studio. Rhymes and other witnesses to the shooting have stonewalled cops. At the same time, the audio recording is being shopped to media outlets with a price tag of $50,000. No one has given the recording to cops or prosecutors. “I hope the person who has this tape or video would cooperate with authorities, especially if it provides evidence in this case,” said Jerry Schmetterer, spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has leveled harsh criticism at numerous witnesses who have failed to cooperate with cops, including Rhymes.

An NYPD spokesman said yesterday the owner of the recording should come forward. “It’s totally irresponsible of this person to withhold what could be a vital piece of evidence in an active homicide investigation,” the spokesman said. No one has been charged with the slaying of Ramirez, a 29-year-old father of three. On the audio recording, the source said, Rhymes appears to be playing peacemaker during an argument that breaks out amid the taping of the video for his song “Touch It (Remix).” The voice of a third man, whose identity is not clear, is believed to be the shooter. That man is heard on the recording calling another man, apparently Rhymes, a bitch, according to the transcript. Because the argument moved outside the studio, the gunshots that killed Ramirez cannot be heard on the recording, the source said. But the mayhem of the immediate aftermath is captured.

“You can hear screaming and the chaos and the 911 call,” the source said.

A grand jury could be used to compel witnesses who have clammed up to either talk or face contempt charges.

Courtesy of NY DAILY NEWS

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