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Drug dealer tells NYC jury Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay sold cocaine

Jason Mizell, "Jam Master Jay" of Run DMC in 2002 in New York City.(Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
Matthew Peyton/Getty Images
Jason Mizell, “Jam Master Jay” of Run DMC in 2002 in New York City.(Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

A convicted drug dealer who was friends with Jam Master Jay told a Brooklyn jury Monday that the slain rap icon occasionally sold him kilos of cocaine to “make ends meet.”

Ex-con Ralph Mullgrav’s time on the stand kicked off a day of testimony in Brooklyn court that included Jay’s business manager, who witnessed the Run-DMC co-founder’s murder, and a former NYPD detective known as the “Hip Hop Cop.”

Mullgrav, who spent 12 years in prison for running a Baltimore drug-dealing operation with two dozen underlings, initially defied a subpoena to testify at the trial of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald “Tinard” Washington, both accused of killing the rap star on Oct. 30, 2002.

But after seven days behind bars, he took the stand in Brooklyn Federal Court Monday to say how Jay, whose real name is Jason Mizell, sold drugs.

Karl Jordan
Karl Jordan

“Jason wasn’t a drug dealer. He just used it to make ends meet here and there,” Mullgrav testified.

Mizell sold about one or two kilos to Mullgrav, “more than once, more than twice,” he said.

In August 2002, Mizell asked Mullgrav to sell about 10 to 20 kilograms. Mizell wanted to bring Washington along, but Mullgrav had bad blood with the man.

“I told him no,” Mizell said. “Yes, he [Washington] was a problem.”

When Washington showed up for a meeting where Mullgrav was expecting Mizell, that torched the deal.

“I went to the tire to get my gun,” he said, explaining that he had a firearm stashed in a tire on a parked car. When asked what he planned to do next, he said, “Shoot Tinard.”

Prosecutors allege Washington and Jordan killed Mizell because he cut them out of that drug deal.

FILE - The body of Jason Mizell, a.k.a. Jam Master Jay, a member of the pioneering rap trio Run DMC, is removed from a recording studio where he was shot and killed, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 in the Queens borough of New York. Opening statements are set for Monday in the federal murder trial of Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington, who were arrested in 2020 for the murder of Jam Master Jay.(AP Photo/Newsday, Ken Sawchuk)
The body of Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay of the pioneering rap trio Run DMC, is removed from a recording studio where he was shot and killed, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002 in Queens. (AP Photo/Newsday, Ken Sawchuk)

After he got out of prison, Mullgrav authored a book and became a movie producer, working on a film titled “Holistic Journey,” said his lawyer, Gary Farrell. He’s stayed out of trouble since, Farrell said.

The jury also heard from Lydia High, Mizell’s business manager, who testified that she was sitting across from the DJ in his Merrick Blvd. music studio in Hollis, giving him paperwork to sign, moments before the shooting.

High spoke nervously, her voice cracking as she described what she saw. She took off her glasses and tried not to make eye contact with anyone.

She didn’t like going to the studio, which she described as a “clubhouse” where people hung out and got high, and not a professional place. That night, she planned to drop by for a few minutes, then meet someone for dinner.

High said she was sitting across from Mizell when the shooter entered the room.

“Jason smiled. He smiled. And he kind of gave the person a pound,” she said. “And then [Mizell] said, ‘Oh s—!'”

“I heard the gun,” she said. She didn’t see it go off, and in the chaotic seconds that followed, she screamed and ran to the door.

But another person blocked the door, pointed a gun to her head, and told her to get down.

“It was Tinard,” she said.

She didn’t name Jordan as the shooter, but described the killer as a light-skinned Black man with a neck tattoo.

Jordan’s lawyer, Mark DeMarco, grilled High on why she didn’t mention the neck tattoo in her descriptions to police over the years, or in her testimony before a grand jury in November 2005.

And Washington’s attorney, Susan Kellman, tried to float a different theory about her client’s presence. “Would it be fair to say when Tinard said to you, ‘Get down,’ he was trying to protect you?”

The prosecution promptly objected and the question was stricken from the record.

After the shooting, High was given a security detail — retired NYPD detective turned investigator Derrick Parker, who worked on the cold case murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.

Parker said High told him shortly after the killing that Tinard was the man who ordered her to the ground, and months later named Jordan, or “Little D,” as the shooter.

He also described how she responded to a phone call she said was from Jordan’s father a couple of days after the killing. “She was very upset, and she started shaking and she started rambling off,” Parker said.

DeMarco pressed Parker on why he didn’t share what High said with his friends in the police department. Parker shared his file with police and FBI investigators in 2016, but he still didn’t say that High named the killers, he said, because she was still a client.

“They’re performing a job you did 14 years ago, and it’s your testimony that you didn’t give the information?” DeMarco asked.

“Correct,” Parker responded.