Jay-Z lawyers: SEC probe has become a 'celebrity hunt' - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Jay-Z lawyers: SEC probe has become a 'celebrity hunt'

Posted: Updated:

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Lawyers for Jay-Z told a judge that the Securities and Exchange Commission has gone on a "celebrity hunt" by demanding the rapper submit to unlimited questioning beginning Friday about a company to which he sold his apparel business more than a decade ago.

Jay-Z is concerned that the SEC's request is "driven more by governmental fascination with celebrity and headlines than by any proper investigative purpose," the lawyers wrote Monday in a submission at Manhattan federal court. They said he has agreed to appear for one day before the SEC, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jay-Z, whose birth name is Shawn Carter, must appear before the SEC in Washington on Friday for a deposition of unlimited duration unless he can explain why it should not be required, U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardelphe wrote last week. The judge also set a hearing for Tuesday, though it was unclear whether Jay-Z will be there or just his lawyers.

The SEC described Jay-Z, whose hits include "99 Problems" and "Empire State of Mind," as an "important witness" who has "defied two lawful subpoenas," failing to show up twice for scheduled testimony.

The commission has sought to depose Jay-Z as part of its probe into possible securities fraud in the reporting of financial results by Iconix Brand Group, which purchased the rapper's Rocawear apparel brand. The SEC said Jay-Z and Iconix continued some business partnerships after the sale, and that the Rocawear-related assets are among the financial results under scrutiny.

In their submission, Jay-Z's lawyers called the SEC's subpoena "unreasonable and, indeed, oppressive," saying he never had a role in Iconix's financial reporting and hasn't been shown to possess any unique and relevant information.

They said the SEC has issued nine subpoenas to Jay-Z, his colleagues and his affiliated businesses, and that nearly 11,000 pages of materials have been submitted. The lawyers wrote that the chief operating officer of two of Jay-Z's businesses has already testified for a full day before the SEC.

They noted that the entertainer has an extensive business empire employing thousands of people. His schedule, they said, is especially hectic now with a global tour of 45 shows to begin June 6.

"The upshot imposes unreasonable burdens on Mr. Carter and raises serious questions about whether this exercise has transcended any investigative purpose and crossed over into a celebrity hunt," they wrote.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • Hawaii volcano eruption costs tourism industry millions

    Hawaii volcano eruption costs tourism industry millions

    Wednesday, May 16 2018 1:53 PM EDT2018-05-16 17:53:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/Caleb Jones). Gases rise from lava fissure 17 after it erupted early Sunday, May 13 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. The new fissure emitting steam and lava spatter spurred Hawaii officials to call for more evacuations on Sunday as residents braced f...(AP Photo/Caleb Jones). Gases rise from lava fissure 17 after it erupted early Sunday, May 13 2018 near Pahoa, Hawaii. The new fissure emitting steam and lava spatter spurred Hawaii officials to call for more evacuations on Sunday as residents braced f...
    A new fissure in Hawaii's Puna District sent gases and lava exploding into the air on Sunday, spurring officials to call for more evacuations as residents waited for a possible major eruption at Kilauea volcano's...More >>
    A new fissure in Hawaii's Puna District sent gases and lava exploding into the air on Sunday, spurring officials to call for more evacuations as residents waited for a possible major eruption at Kilauea volcano's summit.More >>
  • AT&T chief lobbyist out after hiring of Trump attorney Cohen

    AT&T chief lobbyist out after hiring of Trump attorney Cohen

    Tuesday, May 15 2018 10:33 AM EDT2018-05-15 14:33:19 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana). FILE - In this March 22, 2018 file photo, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson leaves the federal courthouse in Washington.  Stephenson says the company made a “big mistake” in hiring President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Co...(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana). FILE - In this March 22, 2018 file photo, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. Stephenson says the company made a “big mistake” in hiring President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Co...
    The chief lobbyist for AT&T is leaving the company after hiring of President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as a political consultant.More >>
    The chief lobbyist for AT&T is leaving the company after hiring of President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as a political consultant.More >>
  • Markle seeks respect for dad after report he'll skip wedding

    Markle seeks respect for dad after report he'll skip wedding

    Tuesday, May 15 2018 7:04 AM EDT2018-05-15 11:04:45 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth). Flags fly in front of the castle in Windsor, England, Monday, May 14, 2018. Preparations are being made in the town ahead of the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that will take place in Windsor on Satu...(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth). Flags fly in front of the castle in Windsor, England, Monday, May 14, 2018. Preparations are being made in the town ahead of the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that will take place in Windsor on Satu...
    Kensington Palace says Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are requesting "understanding and respect" for Markle's father after a celebrity news site reported he would not be coming to the royal wedding to...More >>
    Kensington Palace says Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are requesting "understanding and respect" for Markle's father after a celebrity news site reported he would not be coming to the royal wedding to walk his daughter down the aisle.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms