Originally created 06/12/06

Judge sets retrial in Notorious B.I.G. wrongful death suit



LOS ANGELES - A federal judge set a retrial date for the Notorious B.I.G. wrongful death lawsuit against the city after reversing her position that the attorney for the slain rapper's family had misled the court.

Thursday's ruling came weeks after the judge had said she was "absolutely deceived" by plaintiffs' attorney Perry Sanders when he claimed he received an 11th-hour tip that the city withheld documents that could bolster his contention that rogue police officers were involved in the killing.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered both sides to continue the information-sharing process in preparation for the retrial set to begin October 16.

The rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was shot and killed March 9, 1997, after a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum. The killing has not been solved.

Cooper declared the mistrial last summer after finding that a police detective intentionally hid statements by a jailhouse informant linking the killing to former officers David Mack and Rafael Perez.

The judge also ordered the city to pay $1.1 million in legal fees and other expenses to the rapper's family.

But in a May 23 hearing held in preparation for a retrial, defense attorneys showed Cooper a report indicating Sanders knew about the informant's claims as early as 2002.

In the ruling, Cooper wrote that although she initially agreed with the city that Sanders "had misrepresented to the court his surprise and shock at learning about this witness in the middle of trial," she now believes that no deception occurred.

Cooper wrote that when Sanders first learned about the informant's claims that the former officers were involved in the slaying, he believed the statements were not credible because of a lack of corroboration in the form of police reports.