JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys representing a Jacksonville rapper accused of murder want the state prosecutor removed from the case.
The attorneys for Hakeem Robinson — known as rapper Ksoo — recently filed a motion to disqualify the State Attorney’s Office. The motion accuses the state of targeting rappers who they say artistically sing about a lifestyle they may or may not be living.
Robinson is currently in jail on two separate second-degree murder charges. He’s charged in the 2019 shooting death of 16-year-old Adrian Gainer and the 2020 shooting death of Charles McCormick.
Robinson is known for his controversial music videos that feature lyrics about the murders. His attorneys said the lyrics do not prove he is guilty.
Robinson’s attorneys believe the State Attorney’s Office enlists people who are facing jail time to testify against suspects in exchange for a lesser sentence. The motion references a conversation between a state prosecutor and a witness who agreed to testify against murder suspect Deontrae Thomas during his 2020 trial.
Robinson’s attorneys say the witness was not in jail, but was facing a sentence for a different crime. They said the witness recorded the conversation with the prosecutor on his cell phone. The motion claims the prosecutor told the witness what to say on the stand.
PROSECUTOR: (Unintelligible) but you know how the courtroom is setup. You know I’ll be standing at the podium in front of you. You know where my tables at; you know the other table. And, the way the courtroom is setup you’ll have defense counsel at the other table and typically their client, alright. Alright?
WITNESS: So which side is he gonna be on?
PROSECUTOR: When you’re sitting at the witness stand the way the courtroom is setup looking straight ahead will be at the podium. I’ll be standing at the podium. This is my table, alright, the other table up here is gonna be, ah, defense attorneys table. Okay?
WITNESS: Is there a restroom anywhere over here?
PROSECUTOR: Yea, so, do you think you’ll be able to (unintelligible) and you’ll have to take that out of your ear when you go in there. Remember him, right?
WITNESS: Oh, yea that’s the (unintelligible) that’s the lawyer (unintelligible).
PROSECUTOR: Alright, remember (several seconds of unintelligible whispering).
PROSECUTOR: And um, when you’re walking in (unintelligible) and we’ll see, alright, and so what I’ll ask you, what, if you have any issues when I get up and say, “who were you talking to” you say, “Deontrae Thomas” you’ll say, he’s sitting right over there if you recognize him. Okay?
WITNESS: Okay. Um.
PROSECUTOR: Yea, if you come up here to this corner right here, see where all those people are in the corner?
PROSECUTOR: Make a right right there there’s a men’s room right (unintelligible).
WITNESS: S**t them crazy, I’m fittin’ to tell, I’m come and holla at you.
Once the witness took the stand, the motion said he asked to be excused from testifying. The witness never received his leniency, according to Robinson’s attorneys.
The same prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Joel Cooper, is on Robinson’s case.
Robinson’s attorneys said his two separate murder charges stem from a witness named Dominque Barner. Barner is also charged in Charles McCormick’s murder, along with another murder and a home invasion robbery.
Robinson’s attorneys feel witnesses facing time have no credibility because they will do anything to cooperate to receive a lesser sentence.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson sent News4Jax a statement:
At this time, it’s unclear if the judge will hold a hearing on the motion to remove the prosecutor.