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- Kanye West’s lawyers stopped representing him following his antisemitic tirades.
- The lawyers can’t find him to tell him they’ve quit, and West isn’t responding to texts.
- A former business manager suing West can’t find a lawyer to serve papers.
After Kanye West went on a series of antisemitic tirades earlier this year, virtually everyone close to him — save a ragtag group of white nationalists and Elon Musk — cut ties with the singer.
Including his lawyers.
Greenberg Traurig LLP — which represented West in lawsuits over everything from business deals gone bad to allegedly stolen song samples —told Insider in a statement that it condemns “antisemitism and all hate speech or bigotry, which is repugnant to the core values we believe in and live” and that it had “moved to withdraw from our representations” of West in his litigation.
The trouble is, the firm can’t find West to tell him they no longer represent him.
In a December 12 letter to a federal judge reviewed by Insider, an attorney for the firm said they couldn’t reach him.
Lawyers for Greenberg Traurig were able to serve West with documents telling him they no longer wanted to represent him. But the judge, Analisa Torres, said the firm couldn’t officially cut loose West, who now goes by Ye, until they could hand him her order allowing them to withdraw.
At that point, West went dark.
“Ye ceased responding to GT’s attempts to contact him, and despite diligent efforts and the use of a process server, GT has been unable to locate Ye or serve him,” Greenberg Traurig attorney Justin MacLean wrote to Torres.
In a follow-up letter on December 21, MacLean said they still couldn’t find West and asked the judge for an extension.
“Despite further diligent efforts and the use of a process server, GT has still been unable to locate Ye or serve him at the addresses that GT previously understood Ye to frequent,” MacLean wrote.
West stopped replying to texts from his lawyers
The drama is playing out in an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit that illustrates how West is floundering without his usual guardrails.
Filed in June, it alleges West stole a sample from the 1986 Marshall Jefferson song “Move Your Body” for his song “Flowers.” Sample clearance is a regular part of what any record label does, but West released the song “Flowers” on his album “Donda 2,” which he produced independently.
“The unauthorized sample taken by West is repeated at least 22 times throughout ‘Flowers,'” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawyers from Greenberg Traurig asked the judge on November 2 if they could withdraw from the lawsuit, not long after Torres, a US district judge in Manhattan, ordered the parties to prepare for a trial.
In her order, which Torres asked Greenberg Traurig to serve to West, Torres originally said West had until January 4 to inform her whether he wants to get a new lawyer or represent himself in the case.
Ye, also known as Kanye West, in Paris, France, on October 2, 2022.
Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
MacLean also asked Torres if the firm could simply text West to tell him they’re dumping him, a measure the judge disapproved of. West still seems to be getting his former lawyers’ texts even if he doesn’t respond to them, MacLean wrote.
“GT had been able to communicate with Ye by text message to inform Ye of GT’s withdrawal and coordinate personal service of GT’s motion to withdraw, and had further been able to communicate with Ye as recently as December 8 to attempt to arrange for personal service of the Order,” MacLean wrote in a letter reviewed by Insider. “While Ye had stopped responding to GT’s communications by text after that date, every indication suggests that Ye has received GT’s attempted communications.”
Greenberg Traurig is dealing with the same issue in another case, a class action lawsuit filed in June from hundreds of employees who allege they were underpaid for working on West’s 2019 opera “Nebuchadnezzar.”
In that case, held in federal court in California, US District Judge George H. Wu allowed Greenberg Traurig to withdraw on December 2. He suggested in a court filing that West may be ghosting the firm in that case as well.
“There is at least some suggestion that a cessation of communication may be at least one driving force” for the law firm dropping West, Wu wrote.
The rapper’s inability to get a lawyer is also an issue in a $4.5 million lawsuit from his former business management firm.
The firm, Thomas St. John Inc., sued West in October. West signed a contract where the firm would handle his finances for 18 months, at the cost of $300,000 per month.
But, the company alleges, West stopped paying after only three months. West said he never intended to abide by the contract’s 18-month term, according to the lawsuit.
“Mr. West stated words to the effect of ‘The 18 month term was bullshit’ and ‘You’re insane for even thinking I would stick to it,'” the lawsuit says.
In court documents first reported by The Sun and reviewed by Insider, lawyers for Thomas St. John said on December 19 that they couldn’t serve West with the lawsuit.
West’s previous lawyers — presumably the ones at Greenberg Traurig — told the management firm they no longer represented West, and the firm couldn’t locate any replacement firm.
The address associated with West’s businesses in California Secretary of State filings wasn’t accurate, the lawyers wrote, and mail sent to three other addresses associated with West didn’t appear to reach him.