As the one-year anniversary of the actor-rapper's death approaches Saturday, the once-promising artist's legacy is lost in a sea of lawsuits--the latest of which was filed Monday by no less than a onetime suspect in the Shakur murder.
Orlando Anderson, a reputed member of Los Angeles' notorious Crips street gang, claims he suffered physical injuries, as well as emotional and mental distress, when Shakur and Death Row Records employees beat him up in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel on September 7, 1996. The attack, captured on hotel security cameras, occurred shortly before Shakur, riding in a BMW powered by Death Row mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, was ambushed by unknown assailants just off Vegas' famed Strip. Shakur, hit with four bullets, died six days later. He was 25.
Anderson was taken into custody by Los Angeles police last October 2 during a gang raid related to the Shakur investigation. He was released two days later--no charges filed. But as recently as February of this year, Las Vegas authorities still reportedly considered him a suspect in the still-unsolved case.
An attorney for Anderson denies the man played any role in Shakur's murder. And indeed, by filing the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, Anderson isn't lying low--rather, inviting scrutiny of his Tupac connection. Anderson's complaint also names Death Row and Knight, now in jail for a parole violation relating to the hotel assault, as co-defendants.
The Anderson case joins a stampede of Shakur-related litigation, including: An Arkansas woman who wants the estate to fork over $16.6 million--the amount of a judgment awarded her by a court in her home state for injuries suffered at a Shakur concert in 1993. (The woman was shot and, subsequently, paralyzed.) Prominent gangsta-rap foe C. Delores Tucker who wants $10 million because, she alleges, Shakur made swipes at her on his 1996 album, All Eyez on Me, thereby ruining her sex life. Embattled Death Row Records which wants $7.1 million--reimbursements, it says, for advances Shakur received to buy cars, houses and jewelry. The sad punch line here is that when Shakur died his bank account read: $150,000.
The ledger may have recently evened out a bit. Knight reportedly settled a lawsuit (yes, another one) with Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mom and co-executor of his estate. The deal gave the Shakur camp control of 150 master recordings, worth an estimated $100 million on the retail market.
Oh, good. Now there'll be something at stake when Tupac's dad, William Garland, pursues (you guessed it) his lawsuit against Afeni Shakur for control of his son's money.