A rap mogul known for his gangster persona and for producing chart-topping acts was acquitted on Friday of laundering piles of drug money for a notorious crack kingpin.
Irving Lorenzo and his brother Christopher were found not guilty of federal money laundering charges at a racketeering trial that was closely followed by some of the music industry's biggest stars. Supporters in the gallery erupted in cheering and applause as the jury's findings were announced.
Courtroom supporters of Lorenzo, who goes by the name Irv Gotti, included Jay-Z, Fat Joe and Russell Simmons, along with Ja Rule and Ashanti, the platinum-selling artists signed by the defendant's Murder Inc. label. Ja Rule had labeled the case "a war against hip hop." The Lorenzo brothers had faced up to 20 years in prison, AP reports.