Witness says ‘snitching’ talk preceded Nipsey Hussle killing

FILE - This March 29, 2018 file photo shows rapper Nipsey Hussle at an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks in Oakland, Calif. Court documents show that Hussle and the man charged with killing him had a conversation about “snitching” shortly before Hussle was shot. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Court transcripts unsealed Thursday show that rapper Nipsey Hussle and the man charged with killing him had a conversation about “snitching” shortly before the rapper was shot.

In the grand jury transcripts, a witness testified that the rapper told Eric Holder of rumors that Holder had been snitching about the Rollin’ 60s gang, and that police documents or court records showed it.

“You need to address it,” the witness, Hussle’s friend Herman Douglas, remembers the rapper saying. “You know, basically telling the guy you need to be careful, you know, because people got some paperwork on you.”

The witness, Hussle’s friend Herman Douglas, testified that he, Hussle and Holder had all been affiliated with the gang at some point, though he and Hussle had not been involved in any recent gang activity.

Holder shot and killed Hussle and wounded two other men March 31 as they stood outside the Marathon, Hussle’s South Los Angeles clothing store. Holder has pleaded not guilty.

A homicide investigator testified at the hearing that surveillance camera footage showed Holder running from the scene with a gun in each hand.

The transcripts offered the first glimpse into the prosecution’s case against Holder, who was arrested on April 2, two days after the shooting. Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore had said two days after the shooting that the dispute between Holder and Hussle was personal, and did not involve gang activity. Asked about those comments Thursday, LAPD spokesman Officer Tony Im said he had no additional information Thursday, and the department likely won’t release more information because the case is in court.

FILE – This April 4, 2019 file photo shows Eric Holder, the suspect in the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles County Superior Court with his attorney Christopher Darden. Holder is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack outside Hussle’s The Marathon clothing store. Court documents show that Hussle and Holder had a conversation about “snitching” shortly before Hussle was shot. (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool via AP)

The woman who drove Holder from the scene also testified she heard the men talk about “snitching.”

The woman, a health care worker who had known Holder for about a month, testified that she had been excited to see Hussle when they first arrived at the plaza and took a photo with him, having no idea of Holder’s intentions beyond getting food.

“I was like, ‘ooh, there goes Nipsey Hussle, he look fine. I want to take a picture.’ This as I’m going into the plaza and turning in. As I’m saying all this Eric is not saying nothing.”

The woman, whose name was not given in the transcripts, said she and Holder had pulled out of the plaza and were sitting in her car when Holder, who had been loading a gun, got out of the car and told her to wait.

She said she then heard two gunshots and Holder returned to the car soon after.

“I asked him, ’what’s going on? What’s going on?” the woman testified. “He’s like, ‘Drive, drive, before I slap you.’”

The grand jury listened to three days of testimony before it returned an indictment charging Holder on May 9 with the murder, attempted murder, and other felonies.

The documents were ordered unsealed by Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry after a hearing Thursday where Kelli Sager, an attorney for the Los Angeles Times, argued that there was no legal rationale for keeping them secret.

The defense moved to keep them under seal, arguing that their publication could keep Holder from getting a fair trial.

Deputy Public Defender Lowynn Young declined comment on the decision.

Hussle, 33, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was an underground phenomenon through his mix tapes for a decade before his major break last year that brought him a Grammy nomination.