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Music mogul James Rosemond pleads not guilty to drug charges

July 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hip hop mogul James Rosemond has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he ran a cocaine trafficking ring between Los Angeles and New York.

The CEO of New York-based Czar Entertainment is charged with running a criminal enterprise that shipped cocaine in music equipment cases, money laundering and obstruction. He was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors say the evidence includes secret recordings, emails and shipping records. But Rosemond's attorney says his client is being framed.

Rosemond was arrested last month at the posh W New York hotel in Manhattan. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

A week before his arrest, he was linked to a 1994 shooting that wounded rapper Tupac Shakur outside a Manhattan recording studio. The website iHipHop.com reported Dexter Isaac, who is serving a life sentence for an unrelated case, confessed, saying he was paid $2,500 by Rosemond to rob and shoot Shakur. Rosemond denies the claim.

Rosemond produced Salt-N-Pepa's 1993 hit song "Shoop" and served as a music manager for artists including Sean Kingston and rapper Game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.