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Drake ordered to appear for deposition in XXXTentacion murder trial or face possible ‘contempt,’ judge rules

Drake drinks a beer in Long Beach, California

Drake attends Drake’s Till Death Do Us Part rap battle on Oct. 30, 2021 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Drake must face deposition by attorneys for one of the men accused of killing XXXTentacion or face possible “contempt” charges, a judge ruled.

Signed by a Florida judge on Wednesday, the single-page order sets the stage for a Zoom deposition of the artist, born Aubrey Drake Graham, later this month on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. ET. Drake skipped a previous deposition date on Jan. 27, and if he does so again, he must appear inside Broward County’s 17th Judicial Circuit Court on Feb 27, for Judge Michael Usan to determine whether he should be held in contempt of court.

Some five years ago on June 18, 2018, rapper Jahseh Onfroy, better known as XXXTentacion, was shot to death in his BMW while leaving RIVA Motorsports motorcycle shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The then-up-and-coming hip-hop star was 20 years old at the time of his death. Three men are now standing trial in connection with XXXTentacion’s death: Michael Boatwright, 27, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24.

Michael Boatwright, Dedrick Williams, Trayvon Newsome

Michael Boatwright, Dedrick Williams, Trayvon Newsome (Broward County Sheriff’s Office)

Staring down the possibility of life imprisonment, Williams calls Drake’s testimony necessary for his defense, even if it’s difficult serving the “international celebrity.”

That’s because the defense says that it views XXXTentacion’s death as gang-related — and that the singer-songwriter had “multiple open felonies” against him at the time of his demise.

“While Onfroy was incarcerated for allegedly abusing his pregnant girlfriend and held no bond status it is believed that he was informed by a friend that Drake had heard his music and wanted to meet him,” Williams’ lawyer Mauricio Padilla wrote in a motion late last year, explaining why they wanted the “One Dance” singer as a witness.

“It is believed that Onfroy created a fantasy like idea that Drake would come to his aid and speak at his bond hearing to somehow obtain his freedom. When Drake failed to come to Onfroy’s aid, Onfroy’s feelings toward Drake began to shift in a negative fashion,” the motion continued.

XXXtentacion Shot and Killed

Xxxtentacion visits iHeart radio Station 103.5 The Beat on May 26, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Credit: mpi04 / MediaPunch /IPX

In early 2017, Drake debuted the song “KMT,” and XXXTentacion believed Drake “stole” the song from him, setting off a feud, according to the motion. Their beef allegedly escalated after XXX got out of prison.

“Onfroy relentlessly taunted Graham on social media making statements about his mother and even posting a picture of a Drake look alike with semen on his face,” the motion says.

Williams’ lawyer says that XXX asked DJ Akademiks, born Livingston Allen, to post the same picture on his website.

“Livingston Allen who has spoken publicly about this, at great length, stated that he warned Onfroy that although he did not believe that Graham was a violent person that Onfroy could be pushing him to retaliate,” the motion says.

XXXTentacion later posted on Instagram that “If anyone tries to kill me it was @champagnepapi,” using Drake’s handle before adding: “I’m snitching rn.” XXX later claimed that his account had been hacked. The motion to compel Drake’s testimony includes screenshots of both posts.

Law&Crime is airing the trial of XXXTentacion’s alleged killers throughout the proceedings.

Read the order below:

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."