Even though Louisiana rapper Corey "C-Murder" Miller has spent the last seven years at Angola as inmate No. 00556633, the recent release of new songs and a big social media presence promoting his records suggests the once-famed rapper might still be raking in some cash.
Now the victims of a botched 2001 Baton Rouge nightclub shooting — where Miller was convicted of trying to open fire, although he was thwarted by a malfunctioning handgun — are asking a state judge to seize any earnings from Miller's label to cover unpaid civil judgments.
Not seeing the video below? Click here.
In a court motion filed Tuesday, attorneys for staff and patrons at Club Raggs on Plank Road pointed to recently released songs by the now 45-year-old Miller — available for purchase on Amazon and through Apple's iTunes store — as evidence he may still be leading a lucrative music career from behind bars. The lawsuit was filed by several people inside the club at the time of the attempted shooting, including the bouncer Miller allegedly tried to shoot, the club's owner, a bartender, a bar manager and at least one self-described regular.
His latest album, titled "Penitentiary Chances" and made with Boosie Badazz, was released in April. Torrance "Boosie Badazz" Hatch, who formerly performed under the name "Lil Boosie," also served several years in the Louisiana corrections system, including at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, for drug-related offenses. Hatch was released in 2014.
Prisoners at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola aren’t allowed to record albums or songs…
Miller released several hit songs during the late 1990s and early 2000s while appearing along with his brothers, Percy “Master P” Miller and Vyshonn “Silkk The Shocker’’ Miller, on Master P's now-defunct No Limit Records.
His Wikipedia page lists at least four albums released since Miller was sent away in 2009 to serve life without parole for murder in the fatal 2002 shooting of a teenage fan at a Harvey nightclub. It's unclear, though, if those songs were recorded during Miller's time in the state correctional system.
The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections launched an investigation into Miller in January 2016 after reports surfaced of the pending release of "Penitentiary Chances," then-DOC spokeswoman Pam Laborde said last April.
Shortly afterward, prison officials determined Miller broke Angola rules by recording music in the penitentiary and sent him to a separate disciplinary camp, said Ken Pastorick, the current DOC spokesman. Miller spent three months in "disciplinary segregation" with extremely limited privileges before being returned to a regular dormitory unit on July 26, Pastorick said.
Miller had told prison investigators that any new music was recorded before he was sent away, Laborde said. But lyrics on Miller's recent songs reference recent developments in his legal appeals and appear to have been conceived after his conviction.
In an interview with The Huffington Post in March to promote the new album, Miller's manager, Manuel "M.O." Ortiz, said the new release was intended to show "how the court system railroaded" Miller. But Ortiz and others coyly declined to tell The Huffington Post how they recorded the music.
The garnishment petition filed Tuesday asks Miller's managers and record label, New Orleans-based Bossalinie Records, LLC, to disclose any earnings Miller may have made from the record.
Attempts to reach Ortiz, Bossalinie Records, an attorney and other representatives for Miller on Wednesday weren't successful.
Miller lost a civil suit filed by the Club Raggs victims and, due to accumulated interest on judgments of $80,000, now owes the victims a combined $150,000, the petition says.
The incident at the club, which apparently began after a bouncer tried to pat down C-Murder before letting him inside, occurred just months before Miller was accused of fatally shooting a 16-year-old fan named Steve Thomas during a January 2002 confrontation inside a Jefferson Parish club.
A jury convicted Miller of second-degree murder in 2003 for Thomas' death, but a state district judge ruled prosecutors withheld information about the criminal background of a witness and granted Miller a new trial. He was convicted again by a 10-2 jury verdict in 2009 and was sentenced to life in prison.
Just a few months before his murder conviction, Miller pleaded "no contest" to two counts of attempted second-degree murder for the failed Club Raggs shooting.
Miller is apparently also marketing the music through a series of Twitter and Instagram accounts on social media, according to the filing, though it's unclear if Miller or representatives on the outside have been posting the updates.
Releasing an album from prison isn't the first time Miller has run afoul of law enforcement while locked up.
While appealing his first murder conviction in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in 2005, Miller rapped into a tape recorder held by his attorney, Ronald Rakosky. The recording and footage shot inside the lockup by film crews from a local access channel and Court TV wound up in a music video for "Y'all Heard of Me."
That infuriated then-Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, who responded by banning film crews from interviewing Miller and allowed Rakosky to meet with his client armed only with pen and notepad.
A new music video for "Dear Supreme Court," a song off "Penitentiary Chances," was released in March but doesn't appear to feature any footage of the inmate himself. Instead, the video — which opens with protesters holding signs calling for Miller's release — draws on exterior shots of Louisiana's infamous state penitentiary and a sunglasses-wearing actor playing Miller in prison cell close-ups.
In the song, Miller maintains his innocence, claims his trials were rigged and calls on the state's high court to release him. But in May, the state Supreme Court denied Miller's latest request for a new trial.