The judge assigned to nearly 500 lawsuits in the Astroworld case wants all involved parties to refrain from seeking vindication from the public. During a court hearing on Tuesday (March 1), District Judge Kristen Hawkins issued a gag order to prevent them from making cases to the media and influencing the opinions of the public and jury.
“This case should be tried in the courtroom and not on social media or with press releases or other statements to the media,” Hawkins said. Information from actual occurrences in court, she added, can be discussed with news outlets.
Tuesday’s court hearing was the first time lawyers met since the consolidation of all suits into one giant case. The following day (March 2), Ben Crump, who is representing late concertgoer Ezra Blount, raised concerns about the lack of diversity in the courtroom. “There seems to be not much representation in the court of those African American voices. We really grapple with it. We are concerned about them not having a voice,” he said.
Hawkins acknowledged the issue, which she insisted “has not gone unnoticed by the court” but said she was “not going to choose someone’s [legal] counsel for them.” She continued, “I do know we have excellent attorneys in this room and those attorneys come from all aspects of Harris County.”
As fans know, Travis Scott’s jam-packed Astroworld Festival took a turn for the worse when a crowd surge led to 10 deaths and multiple injuries. Despite the rapper’s claim that he was unaware of what was going on in the audience, he and promoter Live Nation have been targeted with hundreds of lawsuits. He’s since hired Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Daniel Petrocelli to help him with his defense.
The recent hearings were the first of many more to come, per Hawkins. For the next meeting, she wants lawyers to break down the suits into the categories of deaths, bodily injuries, brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.