Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Judge tells defense to leave Drake alone in murder trial

- By Rafael Olmeda Rafael Olmeda can be reached at rolmeda@sunsentine­ or 954356-4457. Follow him on Twitter @rolmeda.

Leave Drake alone, a Broward judge ordered Friday.

Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan once again blocked a defense lawyer in the XXXTentaci­on murder trial from trying to force rapper Aubrey Drake Graham to go on the record about anything he may or may not know about the case.

XXXTentaci­on, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot to death June 18, 2018, outside Riva Motorsport­s in Deerfield Beach, where he was looking to purchase a motorcycle with $50,000 in cash he was carrying in a satchel.

Months earlier Onfroy posted a message on his Instagram page saying if he were to be murdered, Drake would be the culprit. He later retracted the post and said he had been hacked.

Investigat­ors and prosecutor­s say Onfroy was the random target of a robbery committed by four men, three of whom are on trial in Fort Lauderdale. Mauricio Padilla, attorney for defendant Dedrick Williams, accused officials of rushing to judgment and failing to seriously consider Drake as a suspect. But the officials say there is no evidence Drake was involved.

The three defendants are seen on surveillan­ce video accosting Onfroy, 20, and Williams posted videos on his social media page flashing thousands of dollars in $100 bills the night of the murder.

A fourth defendant, Robert Allen, pleaded guilty and testified against Williams and the other two men, Michael Boatwright and Trayvon Newsome.

Drake’s specter has hung over the trial since before it started, with Padilla repeatedly trying to get him to submit to a sworn interview. Drake’s Fort Lauderdale lawyer, Bradford Cohen, asked Usan to put a stop to it twice. Usan sided with Cohen both times.

While defendants do have the right to pursue testimony that might help their case, the right is not without limits, Usan said.

“It appears to be nothing more than harassment of someone for the purpose of setting up a straw man,” the judge said.

Prosecutor­s are still presenting their case. The trial is scheduled to resume Monday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States