Drake retained prominent attorney Brad Cohen who appeared in court arguing that the Order to Show Cause against his client be quashed and agreeing that he would sit for a deposition.
Judge Michael Usan had ruled on February 10 that Drake ought to ‘Show Cause’ as to why he couldn’t sit for a deposition or face contempt of court proceedings.
The judge granted the deposition subpoena after attorney Mauricio Padilla who is representing defendant Deidrick Williams offered that his client is not guilty and that the police failed to investigate several other leads in the death of rapper XXXTentacion. Padilla claimed that one of those leads was that Drake was a possible suspect in the death of XXXTentacion because of their infamous beef in 2018 and a statement by XXX a month before his death that if he passed away, Drake was responsible.
Padilla had told the court that he had properly served the rapper, a legal requirement when another party is being added to proceedings. However, the attorney said that Drake’s team has not responded to the request to sit for a deposition, and he wanted the court to grant a subpoena to demand the rapper appear or face contempt of court proceedings.
On Monday, Drake retained Cohen, who has represented the likes of Kodak Black, who argued in court that the proper course of action was not to grant an Order to Show Cause with consequences for Drake because he had nothing to do with XXXTentacion’s murder.
The Order to Show Cause that is in dispute basically orders that a person show up to court on a specified date, and there are consequences for not showing up (contempt of court fine or imprisonment).Cohen asked that the motion be set aside since no evidence in the XXXTentacion trial names Drake as a suspect in the late rapper’s murder.
“I think that the affidavits attached to the motion are insufficient. I don’t believe that an Order to Show Cause is appropriate given the lack of foundation in the petition,” Cohen said.
The attorney argued that the order was “harassing” in nature and that he didn’t believe that the matter required an evidentiary response as yet and that if the order is perfected and refiled, Drake has a corroborating alibi on the day the artist was killed.
“At this point, I think [we’ve] got a cooperating witness that corroborates that Mr. Graham has 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,” Cohen added.
He added, “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.”
“There’s no law that puts an onus on a deponent to contact an attorney and puts that burden on them,” he added.
Cohen asked the judge to set aside the Order to Show Cause, and if Mr. Padilla wants to serve a future deposition, he would address it (by asking it not be granted).
Padilla also responded as he took a dig at Drake being “the biggest celebrity in the world” and hiring Cohen, who is known for his celebrity clients.
Padilla also opposed Cohen’s request to raise XXXTentacion’s Instagram Story before he died and messages from fans calling for Drake to be investigated as well as XXX’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, saying in her witness statement after his death that she feared for his safety due to his feud with Drake and the Migos.
In the end, Judge Usan expressed that given that the defendants were facing life imprisonment if convicted, the court didn’t want to be in a position later on where the case could end in mistrial or grounds of appeal because it didn’t take prudent steps to allow someone to mount a proper defense.
The judge agreed with Cohen and said that if Drake is to sit for the zoom deposition, he would be able to limit the scope and area of it.
Judge Usan added that the deposition given by Drake will remain sealed, i.e., not available to the public given the publicity of the trial.
“The court will have an opportunity for in-camera inspection (closed court proceedings) with any transcript and it is not to be released to the public, not to be out there, there shouldn’t be pictures of Drake testifying, I can understand why he isn’t interested in that and shouldn’t be and he should be rightfully shielded from that,” the judge said as he mentioned legal authorities Palm Beach Newspaper v Burke (1985) and Post News Week Stations Florida v The State that offered protections to a deponent.
Cohen further argued against the Order to Show Cause and asked that Drake be served with the deposition and they will address it. He also gave the judge an undertaking that he would personally call the other attorney to organize the deposition.
In the end, the judge agreed with Cohen, and he set aside the Order to Show Cause but asked that the two attorneys work out something to have Drake do a zoom deposition.