The Justice Department has given Brooklyn prosecutors the go-ahead to seek the death penalty against the ex-boyfriend of rap vixen Lil' Kim. Damion (World) Hardy, 33, the reputed leader of a murderous drug crew called Cash Money Brothers, faces lethal injection if convicted of ordering the brutal SoHo execution of a rival - a hit that also left an innocent bystander dead.
The alleged hit man, Eric (E-Bay) Moore, also is facing the federal death penalty for the Aug. 10, 2000, slaying of Ivory Davis, who was shot twice as he sat in his car outside Club NV at Hudson and Spring Sts. The mortally wounded Davis drove off and fatally struck a pedestrian, Swedish filmmaker, Johan Camitz.
Hardy was indicted on murder charges in 2005, but it's the U.S. attorney general who ultimately decides to pursue the federal death penalty. Hardy and Lil' Kim once lived together in her New Jersey mansion. He drove around in a Land Rover she gave him and the couple were believed to be engaged, a law enforcement source said.
Hardy, who served time for shooting at narcotics cops in Brooklyn, had a fearsome reputation at the Lafayette Gardens projects in Bedford Stuyvesant, where his crew controlled the drug trade, law enforcement officials said. In 2003, cops said he confronted rapper 50 Cent in a New Jersey hotel parking lot, sparking a gunfight after the rapper dissed Lil' Kim on the radio.
Hardy's lawyer claims he has undergone a religious conversion since those wild times, legally changing his name to Isa Ibn Jibril. He also is mentally ill, the lawyer said. Last week, a federal judge ordered Hardy to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if he is competent to stand trial on federal racketeering and murder charges. "I am the Christ. I am the Messiah," Hardy ranted in court in 2004 after he was arrested at JFK Airport as he returned from a religious pilgrimage in the Middle East. "Do not be the one to go against the law," he went on. "Adhere to the law's command before I give you warning. A day that is drawing near. A day of grief and regrets. Boiling water will be poured over your heads."
Defense lawyer David Ruhnke wouldn't talk about Hardy's relationship with Lil' Kim or his mental condition. He also refused to say if Lil' Kim would be asked to testify at the penalty phase of the trial if Hardy is convicted. A representative for Lil' Kim could not be reached for comment. "He's become a very devout Muslim," said Ruhnke. "He maintains his innocence and the government does not allege that he personally killed any of the victims in the case."