Rapper Scott Questioned Over Deadly Crowd Surge Lawsuits

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Travis Scott pictured on stage at Astroworld before the tragedy. Pic: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

HOUSTON, Sept 19, (AP) – Rap superstar Travis Scott was questioned for several hours on Monday in a civil deposition he gave in connection with hundreds of lawsuits that were filed against him and others over the deaths and injuries at the 2021 Astroworld festival. Lawyers and others connected to the civil lawsuits are under a gag order, preventing them from saying little beyond what happens during court hearings. “Travis Scott’s deposition is typical legal procedure. What is not typical is how the media continues to focus on him despite being cleared of any wrongdoing by extensive government investigations, including by the Houston Police Department,” Ted Anastasiou, a spokesperson for Scott, said in a statement. “Travis is fully cooperating with the legal process while still remaining committed to his tour in support of his record-breaking album, ‘Utopia,’ and his charitable efforts to support at-risk communities.” Following an investigation by Houston Police, no charges were filed against Scott after a grand jury in June declined to indict him and five other people on any criminal counts related to the deadly concert. Police Chief Troy Finner declined to say what the overall conclusion of his agency’s investigation was. In July, the police department made public its nearly 1,300-page investigative report in which festival workers highlighted problems and warned of possible deadly consequences.

According to a summary in the investigative report of a police interview conducted two days after the concert, Scott told investigators that although he did see one person near the stage getting medical attention, overall the crowd seemed to be enjoying the show and he did not see any signs of serious problems. This was the first time Scott was questioned by attorneys for those who have filed lawsuits since a crowd surge at his Nov. 5, 2021, concert in Houston killed 10 festivalgoers. Those killed, who ranged in age from 9 to 27, died from compression asphyxia, which an expert likened to being crushed by a car. Similar crushes have happened all over the world, from a soccer stadium in England to the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia to Halloween festivities in the South Korean capital. Most people who who die in crowd surges suffocate. Scott’s deposition comes as a judge earlier this year scheduled the first trial from the lawsuits for May 6, 2024. That first trial would take place nearly 2.5 years since the deadly concert.

Distress
Documents filed in court in April listed more than 1,500 active cases, many of which were filed against Scott and Live Nation, the concert promoter. Of these, 992 were cases with physical injuries and 313 were cases of “emotional distress, pain, suffering and mental anguish.” Orthopedic surgeries have been completed in 17 of these cases, with other surgeries recommended in another 21. Some of the lawsuits have since been settled, including those filed by the families of three of the people killed during the concert. Scott’s deposition on Monday took place on the same day that hiphop artist Drake, who performed several songs with Scott during the Astroworld concert, was performing in Houston. Drake was also sued in connection with the deadly concert.

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