October 23, 1995
Web posted at: 9:45 a.m. EDT
From Entertainment Correspondent Ron Tank
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Murder was the case. Or was it?
On his records and videos, he's known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, one of rap music's most successful performers. But in court, he's known by his given name, Calvin Broadus, and he's on trial for murder. Jury selection begins Monday.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison, at a press conference, spelled out the details: "Three counts stem from the August 25, 1993, incident which gives rise to the charge of murder in the death of Philip Watermarian."
Prosecutors say that on that date, the victim was chased down by a car driven by Broadus, then shot by the rapper's bodyguard. Broadus' attorney says it was self-defense.
"Its a result of somebody attacking Snoop and the people that were with him," argued lawyer David Kenner. "And I think it's very clear from the evidence in the case that had the bodyguard not done what he did, we wouldn't have Snoop here to talk about today."
There's no doubt Snoop Doggy Dogg was the talk of the rap music world. His premiere album, Doggystyle, has sold more than 5 million copies, and is still on the charts a year and a half after its debut. He's been nominated for a Grammy and won an American Music Award. But even at that ceremony last year, the focus was on the murder charges.
Time Warner, which released the Doggystyle album on Death Row records, recently sold its half interest in the label after public pressure over the intense lyrics of so-called gangsta-rap.
Ironically, a video released last year, "Murder Was the Case (660K QuickTime movie)," features Snoop Doggy Dogg as a man who kills someone in self-defense, then is convicted of murder. In real life, Broadus is the man on trial. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
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