Why is Drake concerned within the XXXTentacion homicide trial?

Drake and his attorneys are opposing a court docket order for him to seem for a deposition as part of the continuing jury trial for the homicide of Florida rapper XXXTentacion.

XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and killed in 2018 throughout an armed theft exterior of Riva Motorsports in Pompano Beach, Fla., simply north of Miami. The controversial but rising star in hip-hop, whose SoundCloud presence catapulted him to success, was 20.

Mauricio Padilla, a protection legal professional for Dedrick Williams, one of many males accused within the killing, has been making an attempt since December to get Drake to seem at a deposition previous to the trial, which began final week. He is claiming the Toronto rapper prevented his scheduled deposition.

The court docket agreed and is now ordering Drake to seem for the deposition later this month. However, the “Nice for What” performer and his attorneys are preventing the order, saying it locations an “unreasonable and oppressive” burden on Drake.

As three males are standing trial in Florida’s Broward County for the 2018 killing, court docket filings obtained by The Times present how and why the A-list rapper was pulled into the homicide case within the first place.

Months earlier than XXXTentacion’s demise, a put up mentioning Drake appeared on the Florida rapper’s Instagram. “If anyone tries to kill me it was @champagnepapi [Drake]. I’m snitching RN,” the put up mentioned. However, the put up was shortly deleted, and XXXTentacion mentioned he had been hacked.

XXXTentacion had been engaged in a largely one-sided beef with Drake in 2017, accusing the “Hotline Bling” performer of stealing his rapping type. Drake denied the allegation.

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During the trial’s opening statements, Padilla, the protection legal professional, invoked the net beef and the Instagram put up, criticizing legislation enforcement for not together with Drake of their investigation.

“Do you think sitting here today, years later, any detective has ever asked Drake? No, they never did that,” Padilla mentioned to the jury final week. “They didn’t do it because it didn’t comport with their version and their narrative.”

Efforts to get Drake to testify

In December, the protection subpoenaed Drake, whose full identify is Aubrey Drake Graham, for a digital deposition via Zoom, in line with court docket data. However, the assembly fell aside as a result of Drake’s attorneys had been involved concerning the cybersecurity of the Zoom hyperlink, which was out there to the general public on court docket paperwork.

It was rescheduled for Jan. 27. But when the day got here, Drake and his attorneys had been a no-show, Padilla and protection attorneys mentioned in court docket filings.

Last week, Padilla and the protection filed a movement to the court docket, asking that it require Drake to seem for a deposition. Judge Michael Usan, who’s presiding over the homicide trial, ordered Friday that “as a result of Aubrey Drake Graham’s failure to appear for the deposition set on January 27th, 2023, Aubrey Drake Graham shall appear for deposition” on Feb. 24 or Feb 27.

Some authorized observers have known as the makes an attempt to contain Drake within the case a “Hail Mary” try and create affordable doubt among the many jury.

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“It’s a very tough case to defend,” former prosecutor Neama Rahmani informed Rolling Stone, referring to mounting proof towards the three defendants. “So maybe you find a juror that believes in these types of conspiracy theories. They need a unanimous jury. Maybe a couple of jurors buy into this and you can hang the jury.”

Since protection attorneys have the suitable to form their case nonetheless they see match, Rahmani mentioned the decide has no alternative however to let the idea play out in court docket, “even though there’s no basis in fact.”

Rebuttal from Drake’s attorneys

Drake and his Florida-based legal professional, Bradford Cohen, bit again, submitting their very own movement over the weekend. In it, they mentioned that Drake was by no means correctly served a subpoena, which might have required him to attend the deposition. They mentioned the subpoena they obtained had errors on it and was incomplete, casting blame on the brokers the protection had employed to serve the paperwork to Drake in California.

Cohen additionally mentioned Padilla didn’t embody enough directions forward of the Jan. 27 deposition assembly, leaving an excessive amount of burden on Drake. He additionally questioned why Drake was concerned within the case in any respect.

“In a case such as this, it is both unreasonable and oppressive to subpoena an out of state party who has not been mentioned in any reports, any investigation, or referenced to have any involvement in this matter,” Cohen wrote within the court docket submitting, referring to Drake because the “Non-Party.”

“No evidence has been provided to substantiate the assertion that the Non-Party in any way contributed to, had knowledge of, or participated in the alleged incident,” he continued, “and to mandate that he appear for deposition for something that he very clearly has no relevant knowledge of is unreasonable.”

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Padilla, who was in court docket for trial on Monday, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Who is standing trial?

Trayvon Newsome, 24, Dedrick Williams, 26, Robert Allen, 26, and Michael Boatwright, 28, had been all charged within the homicide of XXXTentacion. Law enforcement accused the group of ambushing and robbing the rapper earlier than killing him.

Allen admitted to his involvement, pleaded responsible to second-degree homicide and agreed to testify towards the opposite suspects, in line with court docket data.

The others, who additionally face armed-robbery costs, have pleaded not responsible. If convicted of first-degree homicide, they face the potential of life sentences.

The trial started final Tuesday. So far, the jury has been proven surveillance video of the incident and has heard testimony from the prosecution’s star witness, Allen, in line with Miami TV information station WPLG.