The FBI investigated whether two founders of the old-school New York rap group Wu-Tang Clan had links to the 1999 murders of two Staten Island drug dealers who had robbed their relatives, according to a Brooklyn federal court filing.
The revelations stem from the convictions of former drug kingpins Anthony and Harvey Christian, who were found guilty last year of lording over a 20-year drug empire based on Staten Island and ordering the slaying of Jerome “Boo Boo” Estella in 1999.
Their attorney, Michael Gold, has demanded that prosecutors spill all details surrounding the death of Estella — including an informant’s allegation that Staten Island-native Wu-Tang founders RZA (real name Robert Fitzgerald) and Raekwon (real name Corey Woods) may have had a hand in his bloody demise and that of another dealer. They were never charged in either murder.
In papers filed last month, Assistant US Attorney Allon Lifshitz asserted that the relevant information had already been provided prior to trial — and he included several passages from FBI files to back up his claim.
The documents were first reported by the Staten Island Advance on Tuesday.
Those excerpts — culled from interviews with an informant named Brian Humphreys, the man who shot Estella — suggest that the doomed dealer had robbed RZA’s relative.
“A couple of weeks before the Boo Boo shooting, Uncles (informant Paul Ford) told Humphreys about a Blood named Boo Boo who just came home from jail. He stated that Boo Boo had robbed RZA’s little brother and had also gotten into something with the Christian brothers,” the excerpt reads.
“Uncles was talking about Boo Boo and said that he had just come home and robbed RZA’s brother and that they would likely come after him for that. Humphreys believes Uncles was referring to members of Wu-Tang.”
Another passage references a conversation among Humphreys, Ford and Anthony Christian, in which Raekwon’s name pops up in relation to the death of Corey “Shank Bank” Brooker, another Staten Island dealer.
Ford claimed that Brooker, who was shot dead in June 1999, had shaken down RZA’s brother and Raekwon’s cousin — and that RZA put up $30,000 to have him killed, according to the filing.
“Ford stated that he had previously heard that Shank Bank was killed by Phife. Ford believes that Phife collected money from RZA for executing the hit,” according to the excerpt provided in the filing, which doesn’t identify Phife.
“In this passage, Ford advised that Brooker — who died after the Estella murder — was murdered by a person hired by RZA, i.e., by a Wu Tang Clan associate, and that Estella may have been murdered as a result of a dispute between Brooker and RZA,” Lifshitz wrote in his filing.
Brooker’s case remains unsolved. Prosecutors contend that any purported Wu-Tang connection has no bearing on the Christian brothers’ guilt.