Hip hop star 50 Cent, who made headlines when his Long Island home burned to the ground in May, has now met with investigators looking into the "highly suspicious" fire. The Suffolk County arson squad confirmed that detectives met with the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, and two of his attorneys in the afternoon of Aug. 20 in Manhattan.
"There were some ongoing scheduling conflicts that were eventually resolved," said Detective Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald.
ABC News reported in the morning of Aug. 20 that Jackson had not yet met with arson squad investigators. When ABC News contacted Jackson's attorney Brett Kimmel on Aug. 18, he would not comment on whether or not Jackson would be meeting with investigators, but the arson squad said it was contacted by one of Jackson's attorneys on Aug. 19 to confirm they could meet the next day.
"We interviewed him long enough to get all of our questions answered," said Fitzgerald of the meeting, which lasted a little over an hour at one of Jackson's attorney's offices. "Our case is still under investigation and we're still carrying it as a fire of undetermined origin."
A representative for Jackson released a statement saying that he had met with investigators on Wednesday. The statement also said the meeting was arranged weeks earlier.
"The final confirmation occurred the day before," Detective Fitzgerald said, adding that Jackson was cooperative during the meeting.
Kimmel did not return a call from ABC News seeking comment about the meeting, but Jackson's representative said "50 is eager to review the findings of the investigation, when it is concluded."
The attorney for Jackson's former girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins, who was living in the home at the time of the fire, welcomed the news that Jackson had met with investigators.
"Given the seriousness and suspiciousness of the fire and that lives were endangered, I'm surprised that it took the authorities so long to pin [Jackson] down for an interview," said Catsandonis, who had previously called for Jackson to meet with the squad.
The blaze occurred in the early morning of May 30, destroying the multi-million dollar home in the Long Island neighborhood of Dix Hills. Tompkins and her son with Jackson, 10-year-old Marquise, escaped the blaze along with four others staying at the house. They were reportedly taken to the hospital and released after being treated for smoke inhalation.
At the time of the fire, Jackson was in Louisiana filming a movie. His publicist released a statement saying he "expressed deep concern over this fire at his property. He is extremely thankful that everyone including his son, Marquise, escaped the burning house safely. He is confident that authorities will be conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and is eager to review their findings."
The fire was referred to the arson squad because of its intensity and who the property belongs to, fire officials told reporters at the time, while Tompkins immediately pointed the finger at Jackson. "I know this came from 50 Cent," Tompkins told reporters. "I know he did it."
She and Jackson had been involved in a contentious dispute over the home, and Tompkins had filed a lawsuit against the hip-hop star, claiming that he promised her the house years earlier and that he was now trying to force her and their son out. The suit was still pending at the time of the fire.
Jackson has rejected accusations that he was in any way involved with the fire. His attorney, Kimmel, released a statement saying, "Any suggestion that Mr. Jackson had anything whatsoever to do with the fire at his home is outrageous and offensive."
He also filed a $20 million defamation suit against Tompkins, claiming that her allegations are false.
Earlier this week, 50 Cent was named Forbes.com's 2008 Hip-Hop Cash King as the industry's top-earning hip-hop star, bringing in $150 million over the past 12 months. Born in Jamaica, Queens, he has admitted that he used to deal drugs in his pre-stardom days and has a rap sheet from the 90's for possessing drugs.
According to court documents, Jackson and Tompkins began dating in 1995, a relationship that continued for 13 years. Tompkins moved into the Dix Hills home in January 2007. After an incident ensued between the parties the following month, Jackson began proceedings to evict Tompkins, their child together and her child from a previous relationship from the home.
A Suffolk Housing Court judge granted an order of eviction, which Tompkins fought. On May 14, a judge granted Tompkins' petition to stay eviction from the house until further court review. Two weeks later, the home burned down.
Attorneys for Jackson, 33, and Tompkins, 32, are slated to meet in Manhattan court Sept. 4 regarding what Jackson can do with the prospective insurance proceeds from the home and the property. Jackson is fighting a temporary motion that bars him from collecting insurance proceeds from the home, which have not yet been doled out, or selling the real estate. Judge Carol Edmead is expected to make a decision that day.
Jackson and Tompkins are set to meet again in family court in Central Islip, Long Island Sept. 8 over an order of protection that had previously been granted to Tompkins after Jackson allegedly threatened her. Tompkins was granted the restraining order in June.
Jackson's attorney Kimmel released a statement in response to the order, saying that outside of courtrooms and lawyers' offices, Jackson had not seen or spoken with Tompkins in a year and a half.
"The petition is little more than a tactic and a vindictive response to the petition Mr. Jackson filed seeking an order holding Ms. Tompkins in contempt of court for refusing to permit him to be with his son," Kimmel said.