Beyonce bumps up the star power

Philadelphia Daily News (PA)

JUST ONE WORD: Beyonce.

The big news from rap star Beanie Sigel's trial yesterday was not the verdict (there wasn't one), the latest appearance of Jay-Z, the color of Sigel's tie/handkerchief combo, or even what smelly fast food the Sigel entourage scarfed in the hallway outside courtroom 304.The big, BIG news yesterday was the surprise appearance of Beyonce Knowles.

The singer/movie star/girlfriend actually sat her famous booty right down on a courtroom bench in our very own Criminal Justice Center. She was there with boyfriend Jay-Z, apparently to lend support to Sigel as the jury deliberated attempted-murder charges against him.

Her presence, kept quiet enough to keep the crowd down to a couple of dozen in-the-know types, riveted the courtroom.

She is absolutely, undeniably – nearly painfully – beautiful.

Skin so soft you can barely stand to look at it. Hair so bouncy and blonde you can barely stand not to look at it. Lips so luscious they should be on trial.

And then there is, well, that booty. No wonder they had to make up a whole new word to describe it.

The 22-year-old star was dressed in a white blouse that pulled – in an agonizingly sexy manner – way too tight across her ample bosom; pale yellow, cropped seersucker pants slung to the hips and the most bitchin' pair of pumps in the entire universe.

(The shoes were very Pucci. We're thinking Marc Jacobs for the pants. We don't even know whose cream pocketbook and matching belt that was, but we totally want them.)

She looked incredibly young, and very much in love.

The lead singer of Destiny's Child (who's also branched out as a solo performer) was holed up most of the day in an adjoining courtroom, with boyfriend Jay-Z. The only hints of her presence were: the suspicious way Jay-Z's enormous bodyguard hovered near the courtroom's entrance, the unusual absence of Jay-Z leaning in the hall where he usually does and the whispered rumor that bubbled up to the third floor shortly after 2 p.m.

Just before the jury was brought into the courtroom for a question at about 3:45 p.m., Beyonce suddenly appeared seated next to Jay-Z in the row occupied by Sigel's mom, fiance and Roc-A-Fella Records exec Damon Dash.

The young star and Jay-Z giggled and chatted. They had that achingly familiar air of new love about them. In her presence, Jay-Z – who earlier did not hesitate to show his nasty side to a Daily News reporter – seemed to go all soft and cuddly.

So did the spectators who stopped by the courtroom to get a gander at her.

That star power didn't appear to be lost on a few of the jurors, either. Several glanced – one or two, repeatedly – at the star and her rapper boyfriend.

Beyonce sat through the judge's reading of the jury's request (for a slew of exhibits from the trial), and her repeat explanation of the six charges against Sigel (attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy, possessing an instrument of crime and two gun offenses).

After the jury was taken out of the courtroom and released for the weekend, Beyonce was spirited out through the back door.

Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant, is charged with shooting Terrance Speller in the stomach and foot at 52nd Street and Larchwood Avenue on July 1. Speller testified during the trial that he had been shot after a misunderstanding with a woman who knew Sigel. He admitted that, at first, he told cops he had been shot by unknown robbers.

Fortunato Perri, Sigel's defense attorney, argued that Speller and David Aimes, another key prosecution witness, had made up the allegations against Sigel to try to collect a big “payday” from the performer.

Jurors, who told the judge on Thursday that they were unable to reach an agreement on any of the charges but continued deliberating yesterday, appeared to remain deadlocked. They will resume deliberations Monday.

It was unclear whether the bootylicious atmosphere will resume too. *

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