An upcoming documentary over the tragedy at Astroworld has become the latest flashpoint in the massive lawsuit over the deadly festival, with Live Nation warning a judge that it might “taint” the jury pool.
With “Concert Crush” set for release in Texas theaters this week, attorneys for Live Nation told the judge handling the case in a Friday (Apr. 8) letter that it was “important” she be aware of the movie. In particular, they flagged the fact that it was produced by Ricardo Ramos, an attorney who represents victims in the case.
“The involvement of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the film, and the publicity the filmmakers and producers are trying to generate for it, raise significant issues about efforts to taint the jury pool,” wrote Neal Manne, Live Nation’s top lawyer on the case, wrote Friday.
Live Nation, Travis Scott and others are facing billions in potential liability over the crowd crush incident during the rapper’s Nov. 5 performance at the Houston festival, which left 10 dead and hundreds more injured. The cases accuse Astroworld’s organizers of being legally negligent in how they planned and conducted the event.
Lawsuits filed by thousands of victims have been consolidated into a single large case, which remains at the earliest stages. Early flashpoints have centered on whether Scott violated the gag order imposed on the case, and on which attorneys should be given leadership roles for the victims. A trial date is not yet set.
“Concert Crush” is directed by Charlie Minn, who labels himself a “victim-driven” documentary filmmaker and has previously made films about the 2017 Las Vegas massacre and other mass tragedies. Beyond the involvement of Ramos, the film also features interviews from Tony Buzbee and Brent Coon, two prominent Texas attorneys who are repping hundreds of other Astroworld victims in the case.
In response filings on Monday, multiple victims’ attorneys fired back at Live Nation’s complaint. Robert C. Hilliard, who did not participate in the movie but was mentioned as a potential interviewee, blasted Live Nation’s lawyers for filing a “transparent ‘tattle-tale’ letter” with a “‘sky is falling’ urgent tone.” Hilliard suggested the attorneys were “perhaps hoping to distract this court from their own clients’ criminally negligent conduct in the deaths and injuries of so many.”
Coon, who is interviewed in the film, filed his own response, saying the judge was already aware of the film and that the documentary had clearly been filmed before a gag order was imposed on attorneys working the case.
“I am not sure what his point is,” Coon wrote. “The letter does not seem to seek any relief but is some sort of generic ‘complaint’ about the documentary and the fact that several plaintiff lawyers and some of their Astroworld tragedy victims were interviewed.”
As a post-script to his letter to the judge, Coon noted that Live Nation and its lawyers had been “given an opportunity to be interviewed and declined.”