Two weeks after being sentenced to a year in prison for her conviction on federal perjury and conspiracy charges, Lil' Kim is getting even with one of the ex-pals who helped put her there.
The diminutive diva has filed a $6 million federal civil suit against James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd, one of two former cronies in the Junior M.A.F.I.A. who turned state's evidence and testified against Kim. She is now accusing him of using her name and image without permission to hype an unauthorized DVD he had been planning to release this month.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, alleged that Lloyd's exploitation of her name and celebrity mug in The Chronicles of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Part II: Reloaded amounted to false advertising and a false endorsement. Lil' Kim split with her Junior M.A.F.I.A. clique in 2001 due to personal and business differences.
"The timing has nothing to do with [Lloyd's] testimony as a witness at her trial. It's about protecting Lil' Kim's rights," says Frank Salzano, one of her attorneys.
Her legal team says the raunchy rapper, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, decided to take legal action after Cease boasted that the DVD will feature tell-all interviews with him and other former Kim associates discussing her perjury trial.
Kim, 30, has already scored an early round victory. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff granted her a temporary restraining order prohibiting Cease, Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Ground Zero Entertainment--the company that produced the DVD--from appropriating her name, likeness and image without her consent.
"This action is to protect her property rights and brands against unauthorized use. We expect similar actions will follow," says L. Londell McMillan, another of Kim's legal battalion.
Her suit also seeks a permanent injunction blocking the DVD and damages against Lil' Cease and Ground Zero for an earlier edition, The Chronicles of Junior M.A.F.I.A., which was released last year and featured footage of Kim and her late mentor, the Notorious B.I.G., as well as Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
A hearing on the permanent injunction request is set for later this month.
No immediate comment from either Cease's camp or Ground Zero.
Kim was found guilty in March of lying to investigators and a grand jury about a shootout in front of New York City radio station Hot 97 between members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and rival rap crew Capone-N-Noreaga. One man was seriously injured with a bullet in his back.
When authorities questioned the "Lady Marmalade" Grammy winner about the incident, she lied to protect the alleged triggermen--former manager Damian Butler and her bodyguard, Suif Jackson.
Surveillance tape contradicted her sworn testimony, showing her witnessing the gun battle and darting into a nearby limousine with the shooters. Both Cease and another former M.A.F.I.A. cohort, Antoine "Banger" Spain, also placed her at scene of the crime with Butler and Jackson.
Kim, who must begin serving her sentence by Sept. 19, is keeping her lawyers plenty busy. In addition to the case against Cease, they are defending her in a lawsuit brought by two singer-songwriters who claim the rapper failed to pay them royalties for cowriting and contributing vocals to her platinum-selling 2003 album, La Bella Mafia. They are seeking at least $100,000 in damages.