Former drug dealer sues D.C., claims defamation and racial discrimination

Jimmy A. Bell said Cornell Jones, whose criminal past was featured on BET’s “American Gangster,” is not “as articulate as a lettered person” and uses the language he knows.

Cornell Jones

Former drug kingpin Cornell Jones filed a $2 million defamation and racial discrimination lawsuit against the District on Thursday for cutting funds to his nonprofit group and for saying that taxpayer money had been steered to a strip club.

Jones’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court counters the city’s recent action in Superior Court to recover $329,653 that Jones’s group, Miracle Hands, allegedly diverted from a job-training center for people with HIV/AIDS to what became the Stadium Club.

Jimmy A. Bell, Jones’s attorney, said the city had vilified his client, who founded Miracle Hands after serving nine years in prison for drug distribution.

“I’m going to get biblical on you,” Bell said. “Moses was a murderer .?.?. and he was rehabilitated and changed his life. .?.?. My client paid his debt to society and is helping people better their lives.”

Bell added, “My client did not use HIV/AIDS funds to build a strip club.”

The lawsuit points to Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan’s assertion in a news release that the city would seek to recover funds from people who have “unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of the District of Columbia.”


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