JAY-Z is a no-show for Manhattan hearing in SEC investigation
JAY-Z stayed out of the spotlight, but the show still went on.
The hotly anticipated appearance of the hip hop legend in Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday ended in a fizzle, with only his lawyer attending a hearing on whether he had to give testimony to Securities and Exchange Commission investigators.
Despite JAY-Z being missing from the scene, Judge Paul G. Gardephe enforced an SEC subpoena and ordered him to speak with the agency.
“The testimony has been delayed for five months,” Gardephe said. “I do not intend to tolerate further delay.”
After Gardephe’s ruling, the rapper’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, agreed for his client to testify on May 15.
JAY-Z had bucked an SEC subpoena in November and one in February compelling him to provide testimony for its investigation of apparel company Iconix Brand Group’s $204 million purchase of his Rocawear brand in 2007.
The noncompliance prompted the SEC to get a court order last week, forcing JAY-Z to answer why he shouldn’t have to testify.
The judge agreed with SEC lawyers on Tuesday that JAY-Z — who is currently prepping for a 45-date world tour — had avoided meeting with the SEC for far too long.
Before the hearing, both sides had been wrangling over how long the sitdown with investigators should take. Spiro initially wanted to limit the interview with JAY-Z to two hours, according to the judge. Then Spiro allowed it to go four hours.
But the SEC still refused. The agency said that the testimony will likely only take a day but it didn’t want any time limit in case the interview went long.
Gardephe agreed and refused to cap the testimony at a day.
“I’m not going to set a time limit,” he said. “Sometimes a time limit incentivizes respondents to waste time. In effect run out the clock.”
SEC lawyers and Spiro agreed to keep the location of the testimony private.
“We’re pleased with the decision,” Spiro said after the hearing.