Jay-Z's busy schedule as he prepares for global tour got a little busier Tuesday when a New York judge said he must spend a day answering questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission in a financial probe of a company he sold his Rocawear apparel brand to over a decade ago. US District Judge Paul Gardephe didn't let lawyers do more than introduce their names into the record before ruling that the singer, whose birth name is Shawn Carter, must answer the SEC's questions for a full day and maybe more, the AP reports. Lawyers for the SEC and Jay-Z settled on May 15 for a deposition that will take place at an undisclosed location at Jay-Z's request. Jay-Z did not show up for the court hearing, disappointing some spectators who came to Manhattan federal court hoping to see him.
Gardephe said Jay-Z's testimony had been delayed five months as the singer fought the SEC's request, beginning in January when his lawyer responded to a November subpoena for Jay-Z to be questioned in January by saying he could be interviewed by telephone. After a second subpoena in February called for a March deposition, Jay-Z's lawyer offered to have his client submit to questions for two hours, the judge said. The lawyer later offered to expand the questioning to four hours, but criticized the SEC's plans to question Jay-Z. Gardephe offered a mild rebuke Tuesday of Jay-Z's lawyer, Alex Spiro, saying it wasn't his place to decide what areas the SEC had a right to explore through its questioning. Although Spiro offered a spirited argument in court papers Monday for his client's busy schedule making it hard to spare more than a day for a deposition, he did not protest the judge's order Tuesday. Referring to Jay-Z only as "respondent," Gardephe said one day of questioning would allow Jay-Z to "go on about his business."