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Hip-hop's shadowy empire 

In the summer of 2005, the party would get out of hand for Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and the Black Mafia Family. And the feds would be ready to make their move. Part 3 of 3

Page 4 of 7

Hall told police that, yes, he'd been at Justin's the night before. But he claimed he didn't have anything to do with the stabbings. He said he actually tried to break up a fight. When he saw the blood, he decided to bolt with Fabolous, Fabolous's manager and several of the rapper's friends.

"Do you know any of the people involved in the altercation?" police asked him.

"No," he answered.

"Was Fabulous [sic] or any of his companions involved in the altercation?"

"No, nobody in my vehicle was involved in the altercation."

"Are you involved or affiliated with any type of gang in the City of Atlanta or elsewhere?"

"No."

Police weren't buying it. Based on the fact that Hall drove the SUV that a witness identified as the getaway car -- and that Shayne Brown identified a photo of Hall as one of his attackers -- Hall was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and party to a crime.

But within a month, the case against Hall fell apart.

Despite the fact that Hall was believed to have whisked away the alleged attackers; despite the fact that the investigation, at a month old, was still in its infancy; and despite the fact that a grand jury already had indicted Hall, his charges were shelved at the request of the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. The reason? "[V]ictims and witnesses in this case have been reluctant to come forward and cooperate with the State in its investigation of this case, therefore the State has insufficient evidence to proceed at this time."

Yet the case against Hall's co-defendant, "Baby Bleu" -- the younger brother of BMF Entertainment rapper Bleu DaVinci -- did remain open. And in addition to the DA's office, the feds were eyeing him, too.

[Deep background on the above section]

The fallout from the Justin's incident appeared not to have fazed BMF in the months to come -- that is, if there was any fallout.

At Young Jeezy's release party for his debut album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, which was held in July at Midtown club Vision, BMF members were spending money in a state of frenzy. BMF engaged in its trademark move of making it "rain" bills. Champagne was consumed at breakneck speed. And BMF flooded the stage to show Jeezy some love -- and perhaps to stake a bit of claim to the rising star who'd been like family to them.

It would be one of the last hurrahs for BMF's upper echelon, at least for a while: Within three months, dozens of alleged BMF members would be locked up.

On Aug. 3, 2005, Marque "Baby Bleu" Dixson was arrested at a concert at Centennial Park. The aggravated assault charges stemming from the Justin's incident were bad enough, but it appeared that Baby Bleu might be in some other trouble, too. According to a document filed by the prosecution the following day, "This defendant is not recommended for release [on bond] because the defendant has an outstanding warrant issued by FBI."

Within a week, one of the alleged BMF members whose phone had been wiretapped -- and who had named Meech as a major drug trafficker -- was scheduled to go to trial. But on the day the trial was supposed to start, Omari McCree entered a guilty plea instead. He was the first person the state of Georgia successfully prosecuted for a BMF-related crime. To date, the only others are Omari's co-defendants, Jeffery Leahr and his girlfriend Courtney Williams.

Omari was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and his plea agreement included some interesting language: "Defendant will not be named/charged in subsequent RICO indictment." Former Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Rand Csehy, who prosecuted Omari and his co-defendants and headed the office's investigation into BMF, tells CL he had hoped to bring a RICO, or racketeering, case against Meech and the Black Mafia Family. But the feds would act first.

A law enforcement source speaking to CL on the condition of anonymity describes Csehy as an aggressive prosecutor who was trying to quicken the pace at which charges against BMF were moving. It wasn't easy, the source says. "Once there is a crime, witnesses are adamant [about] saying, 'Yes, this is what happened.' And then once those witnesses learn that BMF was behind it, they go south. And that's been a big problem in prosecuting cases, that lack of witness cooperation. They know of the previous things that they've been involved in."

Over the past three years, there have been six unresolved Atlanta-area killings linked in some way to BMF.

On Nov. 11, 2003, Wolf and his boyhood friend, Lamont "Riz" Girdy, were shot to death in Buckhead. Meech was charged with two counts of murder. But the only witness who linked Meech to the crime never materialized. Police said she was too scared to give her name.

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