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BRITNEY BACKS CONVICTED RAPPER

The pop superstar is firmly behind [a]Keith Murray[/a]'s case...

Britney Spears has joined the ranks of US pop stars campaigning to clear the name of imprisoned rapper Keith Murray, who was jailed for five years after being convicted of assault.

Murray was jailed in 1998 following an alleged assault on the brother of a concert promoter in Connecticut prior to an appearance at The Sting nightclub in New Britain. He was sued for $2 million by the promoters, but has always protested his innocence.

Spears - who shares a label, Jive, and lawyer, Larry Rudolph, with Murray - was among stars, including LL Cool J, Erick Sermon and Redman who attended a press conference in New York last week, where Murray's legal team outlined the new evidence.

An eyewitness, who was said to be a member of the promotional team at the nightclub, has come forward claiming he was offered money by the promoter to keep quiet at the time.

Murray, a high-profile rapper with a reputation for delivering intellectual, thoughtful lyrics, rose to prominence with his 1994 single and album 'The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World'. Part of the Def Squad crew alongside former Redman and EPMD member Sermon, Murray's last LP, 'It's A Beautiful Thing', was released while he was already in prison. "I went to trial thinking the system would vindicate me, and it failed me," he said last week.

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