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March 24, 2008 6:01:30 PM PDT
A lawyer for Grammy-nominated rapper Remy Ma conceded Monday that his client shot a friend she suspected of stealing $3,000 from her but argued that the shooting was an accident - a claim the prosecutor disputed.

Defense lawyer Ivan Fisher said Remy Ma (real name: Remy Smith) got into Makeda Barnes Joseph's car after a party at a Manhattan nightclub on July 14, 2007, and demanded that she dump her purse's contents. He said Joseph refused and struggled with the 26-year-old rapper over the bag.

Their hands hit the car's rearview mirror during the tussle, and the gun went off, Fisher said.

"There is no other explanation for why Remy Smith would have chosen that unique moment in time to shoot her," he said.

Joseph, who was shot in the abdomen, testified that she underwent three surgeries during a three-week hospital stay after the shooting.

Fisher said Smith had good reason to believe Joseph had taken the $3,000. He cited the victim's own testimony that she had reached into Smith's purse without consulting her to answer a call on the rapper's cell phone.

Assistant District Attorney Michael McIntosh defined an accident as "an unforeseen occurrence," and he told the jury, "That's not what happened here."

The prosecutor told jurors: "Ms. Smith took an illegal .45-caliber automatic and loaded it with hollow-point bullets and got into Ms. Joseph's car."

Adding that Smith used both hands to cock the weapon as she got in, McIntosh said, "She took every step you had to take to shoot somebody."

The prosecutor said Smith, after shooting Joseph, did not check for wounds, call for medical help or take Joseph to a hospital.

"Instead, she ran," McIntosh said. "The reason she ran was because she knew what happened in the car. Your friend is shot. Do you run or do you call 911?"

The prosecutor said Smith jumped into her $70,000 sport utility vehicle and sped away. He said she slammed the SUV into a parked car a few blocks away, abandoned it and made her way to a friend's apartment.

The rapper is on trial in Manhattan's state Supreme Court on first-degree assault and other charges related to the shooting. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Remy Ma was nominated for a Grammy as part of the Terror Squad for the 2004 hit "Lean Back." She also has appeared on recordings with Busta Rhymes and Eminem.

Jury deliberations on the rapper's fate were expected to begin Tuesday.


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