YNW Melly was charged with witness tampering less than a week before the start of jury selection in his double murder retrial. Florida prosecutors accused the rapper of tampering in connection to his first murder trial, which ended in a mistrial.
The defense argued against the charge at a hearing on Wednesday (October 4). YNW Melly was hit with the new charge after his co-defendant YNW Bortlen was arrested for witness tampering on Monday (October 2).
YNW Melly’s lawyers said there was no probable cause for his tampering charge, but a judge disagreed. The rapper’s attorneys believed prosecutors were muddling his case in response to the defense’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
“This is a transparent and desperate attempt by the State Attorney’s office to distract the public for the deposition of an Assistant State Attorney who accused this case’s lead detective and lead prosecutor of felonies by falsifying and covering up evidence damaging to the state’s case,” YNW Melly’s lawyers told the Miami Herald.
Last month, the defense filed a motion to dismiss YNW Melly’s murder case. His legal team claimed the prosecution withheld evidence to protect the lead investigator as a witness in the first trial.
“The State has intentionally done whatever it could to sanitize Detective [Mark] Moretti’s actions so they would not be fodder for cross-examination during trial,” YNW Melly’s attorneys contended. “Although the defense has only uncovered the tip of the iceberg in this matter, this tip is sufficient for this Court to determine the Defendant’s Due Process Rights, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution through the Fourteenth Amendment, and the parallel provisions of the Florida Constitution, that his fundamental rights have been violated and that the only remedy is dismissal and to let him free.”
YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, remains in jail as he awaits his retrial. He is accused of killing his friends YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser in 2018. Jury selection for the retrial is scheduled to begin on October 9.