According to legal filings, defense counsel for one of the four individuals accused of XXXtentacion's murder and robbery in 2018 has named a number of renowned rappers and celebrities as witnesses, including Drake, Quavo, Offset, late Migos musician Takeoff, Tekashi 6ix9ine, and Joe Budden.
The action is the result of unfounded Internet claims that circulated following XXXtentacion's death, in relation with Drake's 2017 fight over what the late artist perceived to be a rip-off of his flows from breakout tune "Look at Me!" on the OVO rapper's "KMT."
A year after the controversy, XXX's Instagram page had a narrative that stated, "If somebody attempts to murder me, it was @champagnepapi," citing Drake's Instagram name. XXXtentacion claimed his account was hacked, and he was murdered four months later in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
Prosecutors termed the move a gimmick at a hearing on Thursday (Dec. 15), according to the Miami Herald, and Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan wanted written responses as to why the celebrities were relevant. Prosecutors also emphasized that the defense did not give any addresses or contact information where the renowned celebrities might be served subpoenas.
“It is apparent from the deliberate, late disclosure of the defendant’s witnesses and comments made between the parties that [the] defendant intended to ‘surprise’ the state and create a trial by ambush,” wrote prosecutor Pascale Achille, as reported by the Herald.
Miami defense attorney Mauricio Padilla, who represents Dedrick Williams, the suspected getaway driver, presented the modified witness list. Padilla rejected Achille's allegations, blaming them on delayed depositions.
“They are high-profile people. And it’s not easy for me to subpoena. I don’t have numbers, but it doesn’t mean I won’t be able to,” Padilla told the judge. “Trying to subpoena Drake is not easy — you need a drone.”
The fact that the all-star rappers are named as prospective witnesses does not oblige them to appear in court. Their presence is predicated on Padilla demonstrating significance, which yet to be seen.