The presiding judge in the murder trial of Florida rapper XXXTentacion, Judge Michael Usan, has denied a motion by a defense attorney to have rapper Drake sit for a deposition.
On Friday, the jury was excused early to allow the judge to hear arguments from Drake’s lawyer, Brad Cohen, and Mauricio Padilla, who is representing defendant Deidrick Williams, the alleged mastermind behind XXXTentacion’s murder.
Williams’ lawyer had applied to the court to force Drake to respond to a Show Cause motion as to why he should not be forced to sit for a deposition in the trial. The lawyer had argued that following X’s death, his fans had made reports that Drake might be responsible since XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy, made statements to that effect just before he was killed.
However, on Friday, Cohen pointed out that while XXX did indeed claim that Drake wanted to harm him, he later used the same mediums on social media to state that his account was hacked and that his statements should be disregarded.
Judge Usan rejected the submission from Williams, which would essentially implicate the rapper as a suspect in the trial. The judge noted that the application to force Drake to sit for the deposition amounted to a “fishing expedition,” and he also referred to it as a “Chewbacca” defense that is harassing in nature.
“The same degree of reliability or authenticity, there’s also a tweet or Instagram saying I didn’t post that, that’s a hack. Those are the only things we have up there and if that’s the only thing you have, then this is a fishing expedition that the court is not going to sustain any further,” the judge firmly said.
He added, “We’re getting outside of the realm of what is a colourable legitimate defense and just turning into harassment. It’s like a Chewbacca defense.”
Drake had to hire counsel to represent him in court after Padilla was successful in getting a motion granted to allow him to serve Drake to sit for a deposition to support Williams’s case that he was not one of the four men on trial for the murder of XXXTentacion.
At a hearing on February 13, the rapper’s attorney said that the deposition request was “harassing,” especially since there was no other supporting evidence that showed sufficient reason.
The attorney also said that Drake had an alibi to corroborate that he was not in Florida when the murder took place and that he had “nothing to do with this case, Mr. Graham is not listed in any report, I don’t believe it has been discussed whatsoever in this case to my knowledge other than rumour and innuendo.”
“There needs to be some good faith showing at least – his phone was in the area, he was in the state of Florida at the time, there’s some sort of communication, something. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever,” Cohen said.
In the meantime, the prosecution claims that defendant Williams is the mastermind behind XXXTentacion’s murder as he was the one who allegedly came up with the plot to block the driver’s car so they could ambush and rob him. He was caught on camera at Riva Motorsports, showing him spotting the rapper and his car in the parking lot and later in the store, and he is accused of driving the getaway car that was used to rob and kill the rapper.