NEW YORK (AP) – Tiny hip-hop temptress Lil’ Kim misled a grand jury about a wild shootout at a radio station in 2001 to protect her former manager and a friend, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday at her perjury trial.

Lil’ Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, and her assistant “flat-out lied” by testifying under oath that the manager wasn’t there, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Gitner told a Manhattan jury in opening statements.

The manager, Damion Butler, has since pleaded guilty to gun charges.

“The defendants decided not to honor the oath they took,” Gitner said. “They decided the oath did not apply to them.”

Lil’ Kim, and the assistant, Monique Dopwell, have pleaded not guilty to perjury and conspiracy charges that carry up to 30 years in prison with a conviction.

Defense attorney Mel Sachs suggested Lil’ Kim was too traumatized by the violence to fully recall every detail, arguing “a person can be incorrect and not intentionally lie.”

During a lengthy interrogation, she “answered every single question she was asked, and she did not lie,” Sachs said.

The 4-foot-11, Grammy-winning defendant, known for her risque outfits and raunchy lyrics, wore a conservative tan suit to court. She did not speak to reporters. But in the past, she’s called the case “a witch hunt against the hip hop industry.”

The trial opened a day after a man was shot in the leg outside the same rap radio station, WQHT, or Hot 97.

Police were investigating whether the shooting late Monday stemmed from a feud between star rapper 50 Cent – who was appearing on air at the time – and a former protege, The Game.

U.S. District Judge Gerard E. Lynch instructed jurors to avoid news coverage of the latest incident, since “it has nothing to do with this case.”

The 2001 gunfight occurred as Lil’ Kim’s entourage was leaving Hot 97, and the entourage of rival rap group Capone-N-Noreaga was arriving. A man was struck in the back by one of the more than two dozen rounds that were fired, but survived.

Prosecutors allege that Lil’ Kim, after witnessing the entire episode, tried to conceal the identities of the shooters – her manager, Damion Butler, and friend, Suif Jackson. She allegedly testified falsely by saying she didn’t see Butler there and denying that she knew Jackson.

Evidence against Lil’ Kim will include liner notes from one recording in which she thanked Jackson and expressed her affection for him. She and Jackson were once members of the Jr. M.A.F.I.A rap group, formed by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., prosecutors said.

Jackson has pleaded guilty to gun charges. Both he and Butler were expected to testify at Lil’ Kim’s trial.



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