Jay-Z was back in a Manhattan courthouse Monday (Nov. 1) for a second and final day of heated testimony over accusations that he violated an endorsement deal for a “Gold Jay-Z” cologne brand, calling out an attorney for using “lawyer tricks” and even threatening to file a new lawsuit.
Three days after the hip-hop superstar sparred with an attorney for a company called Parlux Fragrances LLC over the soured business relationship, Jay-Z picked up right where he left off when attorney Anthony J. Viola resumed asking questions.
“You’re playing lawyer tricks, and playing word games,” said Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, when Viola repeatedly pressed him about a particular piece of evidence.
In another tense back-and-forth, Jay-Z asked the judge overseeing the trial “is this even allowed?” And later, when Viola tried to argue that the star had potentially contradicted testimony from an earlier deposition, Jay-Z suggested again that the attorney was being dishonest.
“Pull them up, you have all the emails,” Jay-Z said to Viola, an attorney with the law firm Mintz. “When they suit you, you’ve been pulling them up, and when they don’t, you play your little lawyer tricks.”
Monday’s combative testimony came amid a jury trial aimed at resolving a lawsuit filed in 2016 against Jay-Z and his S. Carter Enterprises by Parlux, which partnered with the star in 2012 to launch the “Gold Jay-Z” cologne brand.
Parlux says Jay-Z failed to promote the fragrance, breaching the terms of their business contract and costing the company $18 million. The lawsuit said he refused to appear for events like Good Morning America and then refused to approve later iterations of the product.
Jay-Z has denied the accusations, saying he fulfilled his obligations under the agreement despite numerous missteps from Parlux that threatened to damage his personal brand. He has countersued, saying he’s still owed millions in royalties.
In addition to the battle between Viola and Jay-Z, Monday also saw the star face a very different line of questioning from his own attorney, Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
At one point, Spiro asked him directly whether he had tried to make “Gold Jay Z” a failure, to which Jay-Z responded “absolutely not.” He said he would never “cut off my nose to spite my face” by harming a product that bore his name.
The attorney also asked Jay-Z about various problems he’d had with Parlux. The star recounted that he had discovered the cologne being sold at a discount drug chain without his knowledge and that a new “Extreme” product had been launched without his approval. He called a Parlux advertisement for the brand “B-rate” and “corny.”
Later on Monday, Viola returned to cross-examine Jay-Z, spending much of the time seeking to impeach the superstar’s credibility to jurors and rebut claims made during Spiro’s examination.
For instance, in response to Spiro’s questions about supposed misdeeds by Parlux, Viola asked the rapper why he had not actively sued the company for something like trademark infringement over the subsequent five years.
“You claim this is so important to you, but in this case, you waived those damages,” Viola said.
“Yeah, I don’t typically sue people,” Jay-Z snapped back. “But in this case, I’ll make a special example.”
“And I hope you’re the lawyer,” he added a few seconds later.
The trial kicked off Oct. 18 in front of Justice Andrew Borrok and was expected to run three weeks, but the judge had repeatedly complained that the proceedings have fallen behind schedule.