Jam Master Jay’s finally commenced this week, but prosecutors are now saying that witnesses of the murder may lie out of fear of retaliation.

According to a CBS News report from Tuesday (January 30), “Federal prosecutors filed a late night notice to the court Monday warning that some of its witnesses are now reluctant to testify and may lie under oath, or plead the fifth, out of fear of retaliation.

In 2020, Karl Jordan Jr. (39) and Ronald Washington (59) were indicted for the New York City shooting that left the 37-year-old legend dead inside a Queens recording studio. The ongoing trial will be centered on their defense.

Last year, Jay Bryant (49) became the third person to be charged in the case, though his trial will most likely take place in 2025.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty

The trio are believed to have entered JMJ’s studio and fled after the fatal shooting, with Jordan allegedly firing two shots at the victim at close range, including one to the head that killed him. Prosecutors claim that Bryant was seen entering the building immediately before the shooting and left behind an article of clothing at the crime scene, which contained his DNA.

Earlier this week, a judge ruled in a memorandum of law that rap lyrics will not be admissible during the trial.

According to court documents obtained by HipHopDX, Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall ruled on the government’s motion to admit defendant Karl Jordan Jr.’s rap lyrics and videos. She cited lyrics by Future, Ice Cube, and Kendrick Lamar (among other rappers) as examples of why Jordan’s lyrics would have no probative value i.e. they have no relationship to the crime he is being accused of.

“None of the lyrics the Government seeks to admit as evidence of Jordan’s guilt bear any nexus to the criminal conduct alleged in this case,” reads the ruling. “And, Jordan’s statement that he raps about his lived experience cannot alone serve as a substitute for the requisite nexus. Because the proffered lyrics do not have a sufficient nexus to the charged drug conspiracy, they are inadmissible.”

It continues: “Some of the themes of violence and criminality have become so prevalent within the genre that they have little, if any, probative value at trial. Music artists should be free to create without fear that their lyrics could be unfairly used against them at a trial. […] Individuals who choose to confess unmistakable details of their crimes should be held to those statements, to be sure.

“It is critical, however, that resolution of guilt and innocence emerge from evidence with a close relationship to a specific criminal act, and not be based on perceptions born from the commercial and artistic promotion of a criminal lifestyle

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