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Jury clears rapper Snoop Dogg of man's beating

The Associated Press, Saturday, May 9, 2009, 6:25am (PDT)

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- A civil jury says Snoop Dogg didn't hit a man who came up on stage during a 2005 concert near Seattle.

The rapper wasn't in court Friday when the jury's verdict cleared him of civil assault and battery claims. The jury did find that Richard Monroe Jr. suffered serious injuries during the concert and awarded him $449,400 in damages to be paid by a record label, another performer and others involved in the concert.

The damages awarded were substantially lower than the $22 million Monroe sought when he sued the rapper in 2006.

Jurors found that Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, doesn't personally owe Monroe anything.

During two weeks of testimony, jurors were repeatedly shown a video of a melee that Monroe said left him unconscious, badly bruised and nearly naked.

Monroe's attorney, Brian E. Watkins, said jurors did believe his client's contention that Broadus' people were involved in a savage beating.

"We're very pleased that the jury found that this incident was not something to be taken lightly," Watkins said.

Responsibility for paying the judgment falls on Doggystyle Records, which Broadus founded; rapper Soopafly, whose real name is Priest Brooks; and other unnamed parties.

While Broadus was not present for the verdict, he attended part of the trial and testified, denying that he struck Monroe.

Monroe's attorneys contended that Broadus hit their client with a microphone during the scuffle. But a video shown during the trial didn't show Broadus striking Monroe and the performer said he left the stage before the fight was over.

Broadus' attorneys attacked Monroe's recollection of the events, telling jurors that his story about who hit him changed over time. They contended Monroe didn't tell investigators immediately after the incident that Broadus hit him with his microphone.

The video shows Broadus and others performing one of the rapper's signature songs "Gin and Juice" during the concert at the White River Amphitheater near Seattle. Monroe, who said he thought he had been invited onstage, appears in the video and puts his arms around Broadus, but is promptly tackled by security.

The fracas then moves to the back of the stage, where Broadus is seen standing, but he then disappears from the video.

Broadus testified that he quickly left the stage and was on his tour bus.

Monroe awoke moments after the incident, dazed, in a pool of blood and with his pants ripped off. Photos shown to jurors included images of his swollen face hours after the concert.

Monroe told investigators that the men who beat him also poured their drinks, which appeared to be a mix of gin and juice, on him during the beating.

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