N.O.R.E. Testifies at
1/15/07 - LatinRapper.com news
To rap star N.O.R.E., the
Bronx gang members he befriended weren't criminals. The
rapper, who formerly went by the stage name Noreaga and whose
real name is Victor Santiago, testified Wednesday on behalf of
Darryl Henderson, who has been on trial for the past month in
U.S. District Court in Manhattan on charges stemming from the
Jan. 21, 2002 triple murder a block and a half from Yankees
Henderson faces a possible death penalty if convicted. N.O.R.E.
said he met Henderson in the Bronx in 1998 or 1999 and brought
him on concert tours as a roadie, running errands such as
ordering food and beer for the performers.
He said he also befriended members of Murder Unit, a Bronx
street gang, but did not know that some of them had violent
histories, sold drugs and carried weapons. "Hard-core hip-hop
tends to sell more records," N.O.R.E. said, noting the
advantage of a rough edge in the business. "It's about selling
an image." The rapper said he took members of Murder Unit on
tour with him to give them a chance in the business. In
opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Rody said
Henderson and two other members of Murder Unit committed the
murders to steal 30 kilograms of cocaine worth more than a
He said two of the victims were stabbed more than 20 times and
all three had their throats slashed. Within three days, Rody
said, the three killers had fled to Miami, Fla., where they
were "drinking, partying, posing for pictures and spending the
money they made from the stolen cocaine." Defense attorney
David E. Patton has told the jury that his client did not kill
anyone and has never been in a gang, though he did sell drugs.
On the witness stand, N.O.R.E. described his touring life as a
wild party in which he sometimes smoked marijuana before he
performed and regularly chased women.
Rody repeatedly attacked N.O.R.E.'s memory, which seemed
sketchy about the facts whenever violence erupted near him but
firm in the recollection that Henderson was never in the
middle of it.
N.O.R.E. made some jurors chuckle with his observations,
including that the prosecutor in his suit looked like a music
booking agent. He waved to them as he left the witness stand.
NORE official website: