Travis Scott has hired a high-powered legal team to represent him in court as the Astroworld lawsuits continue to mount, including a lawyer who previously defended Donald Trump.
The Cactus Jack rapper has been named in more than 250 lawsuits alongside Live Nation and other festival organizers over the November 5 tragedy in Houston that claimed the lives of 10 people — including a nine-year-old boy — and injured hundreds more.
Facing over $3 billion in damages over the deadly crowd surge, Travis Scott has hired Daniel Petrocelli, the head of litigation at Los Angeles-based law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, according to Billboard. Firm partners Steve Brody and Sabrina Strong will also be representing him.
Petrocelli is a big name in the legal world having represented numerous high profile clients. In 1997, he won an $8.5 million wrongful death lawsuit against O.J. Simpson on behalf of Ron Goldman’s family. More recently, he’s defending pop singer Kesha in a lawsuit that claims she defamed music producer Dr. Luke by accusing him of rape.
But he also has his fair share of unpopular clients. During Donald Trump‘s 2016 Presidential campaign, Petrocelli was hired to defend him against fraud lawsuits filed over Trump University real estate seminars. He also represented disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein against sexual assault allegations brought forward by actor Ashley Matthau in 2004.
Meanwhile, Live Nation — the other main defendant in the Astroworld lawsuits — has hired Neal Manne, who served as lead defence counsel over the 1996 Humberto Vidal explosion in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico that killed 33 people.
Travis Scott on Astroworld: “I could just never imagine the severity of the situation” pic.twitter.com/njrM2UmDav
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) November 7, 2021
Both Travis Scott and Live Nations’ legal hirings come in good time as all the defendants named in the Astroworld lawsuits are required to file their initial legal answers to the complaints against them before the second week of December, as the Houston Chronicle points out.
There are formidable lawyers on the other side of the Astroworld legal battle, too, with attorney Benjamin Crump handling a lawsuit on behalf of more than 200 victims. Crump is best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the victims of the Flint water crisis.
Travis Scott has attempted to heal the wounds of the Astroworld tragedy by offering to cover funeral costs and mental health counseling for the victims’ families. “Travis is devastated by the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival and grieves for the families whose loved ones died or were injured,” Petrocelli wrote in a recent letter to one family.
But more than half of the victims’ families have rejected his offer, with the families of 14-year-old John Hilgert and 27-year-old Danish Baig — who both died at the festival — calling it a “slap in the face.”