Lupe Fiasco May Testify in 1st and 15th Partner's Drug Trial
According to the Chicago Tribune, Fiasco (born Wasalu Jaco) is expected to testify in the drug conspiracty trial of his 1st and 15th partner/music producer, Charles “Chili” Patton and his wife Inita.
The couple was in court earlier in the month during opening statements in the trial, which is expected to last several weeks.
The Pattons were charged in 2003 with running a drug enterprise that would have supplied more than 900 grams of heroin to buyers, said Assistant Cook County State's Atty. Patrick Coughlin.
Court documents list the street value of the drugs at the time as nearly $950,000.
Fiasco and Patton are partners on Fiasco’s record label, 1st and 15th, which released the rapper’s debut album Food and Liquor.
The pair struck a deal with Atlantic Records, giving them creative control over their work, while retaining the major label's distribution reach.
During opening statements, prosecutors argued that Patton was the brain behind the heroin ring, which allegedly used cellular telephones and coded language in an attempt to avoid detection.
The correspondence was picked up by authorities who were listening in via wiretaps for about a month.
Prosecutors alleged that Inita Patton played an important role in locating a storage facility in south suburban Glenwood, the Tribune reported.
It was there, Coughlin said, that authorities discovered more than six kilograms of heroin, after finding a key to the facility during a raid on the Pattons’ home in May 2003.
Inita Patton's lawyer, Glenn Seiden, countered the accusations by saying her 33-year-old client allowed a friend to store his furniture in the storage unit and did not know drugs were in the locker.
Former Chicago Police Lt. Robert Grapenthien testified that during their wiretap investigation of Charles Patton’s cell phone, investigators heard Patton on March 25, 2003, set up a drug sale with Jerry Warren.
Warren, who was convicted for his role in the case in October, set up a meeting at Hyde Park, an area under police surveillance.
Patton was also heard making March 25 Amtrak train reservations for himself and Fiasco the day prior, the Tribune reported.
Although nine other people were charged with the Pattons, court records show that one person was acquitted in the case, while the others either pled guilty or were convicted.
If convicted, the Pattons could face 15 to 60 years in prison, according to prosecutors.