CALIFORNIA — A conversation about snitching preceded the fatal shooting this year of rapper Nipsey Hussle, grand jury testimony released Thursday reveals.
Hussle, an award-winning hip-hop artist and philanthropist, was shot at least 10 times on March 31. Authorities say Eric Holder fired the shots and two other people were wounded.
Holder, 29, pleaded not guilty in May and bail was set at $6.53 million.
He appeared in court again Thursday when a judge ordered transcripts from a grand jury hearing be unsealed and released. Outlined in that transcript is witness testimony about a conversation between Hussle, 33, and Holder.
At least two witnesses testified that Hussle and Holder discussed snitching.
One who heard the first part of the conversation said Hussle warned Holder, “Man, you know, they got some paperwork on you, you know.”
The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney, explained “paperwork” is police reports or court documents that show a person is cooperating with the police.
Another witness recalled Holder asking Hussle, “Have you ever snitched?”
“The conversation wasn’t particularly intense, it wasn’t particularly belligerent, and it lasted about four minutes,” McKinney told jurors.
The conversation was broken up by fans wanting autographs and photos with Hussle, one witness told the grand jury, according to the transcript. One of them was a woman who drove Holder around that day. She said they met in late February while she was giving him a ride for her “transportation” side job.
The woman was not identified. She was granted immunity.
She said she had a relationship with Holder but they weren’t dating. They were going to grab some fast food on March 31 when they changed plans because she had already eaten. Instead they went down to the area where they would eventually encounter Hussle outside his clothing store. Holder had again decided he wanted to grab some food and directed her to drive into the parking lot from which she saw Hussle and others.
She told Holder she wanted to get a photo taken with the rapper, whom she described as “fine.”
Holder went inside a burger place to order food while she stayed in the car, but he came back out and went over to Hussle and his group.
When the woman walked up, she heard only a little bit of the conversation. Holder asked Hussle had he ever snitched, she testified.
The conversation seemed normal, she said. Hussle learned she wanted a photo with him and they took a selfie, she said. She went back to the car and posted the image to Facebook.
Holder came back and asked her for money, got his chili cheese fries and eventually she drove him around the block.
While they were on the road, Holder started to load the magazine of a pistol, she testified.
“I was just like, ‘You’re not gonna do a drive-by in my car,’ ” she told him, according to the grand jury transcript.
He put the gun away, she said, and they pulled over so he could eat. After a few minutes, she started to pull away when he told her to park.
She said he got out, telling her he’d be right back.
He wasn’t gone long when she heard two gunshots, she testified.
It never occurred to her that Holder might have been the shooter, she said.
When he got back to the car, he told her to drive away or he would slap her, the transcript says.
A deputy medical examiner testified that Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, had 11 wounds, but two might have been caused by one bullet.
Holder is accused of murder, attempted murder and assault with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
If convicted of murder, Holder faces up to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. The penalty for a conviction on an attempted murder charge is 15 years to life.