A Los Angeles federal judge set a December trial date for Post Malone in a lawsuit that claims he failed to credit a co-writer of his smash-hit “Circles,” and the star’s attorneys say he will be there to take the witness stand.
The Wednesday (Aug. 24) order came after attorneys for Malone (real name Austin Richard Post) asked to push back the trial from October 11 to December 13, citing “pre-existing tour commitments” including two shows at Madison Square Garden that were already “substantially sold out.”
Lawyers for his accuser, Tyler Armes, said they’d agree to the delay but only if the star himself promised to take the stand. And in a filing earlier this week, Malone’s attorney David A. Steinberg said that would not be an issue.
“Defendant Post was prepared to appear voluntarily on the original trial date [and] the only reason for his request to adjourn was because of his touring commitments,” Steinberg wrote. “There was never meant to be to any ambiguity regarding his commitment, as he fully intends to appear to refute plaintiff’s claims.”
Armes, a Canadian producer and songwriter, sued Malone in 2020, claiming he had played a key role during an August 2018 studio session and deserves co-credit for an early song that later became “Circles.”
When he first heard Malone’s final song, Armes says he texted Dre London, Malone’s manager, who responded: “Just showed Posty the message/ He said he remembers/ U played a tune on the bass then he played more of it after.” Though he was offered a 5% credit on the song, he demanded more and eventually filed his lawsuit in April 2020.
Seeking to have the case tossed out ahead of trial, Malone and producer Frank Dukes have said only they had “veto power” during the three-man session with Armes. But U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright ruled in April that the case was too close to call and would need to head to trial.
“While Dukes may have controlled the laptop, nothing suggests that he or Post possessed any special veto or decision-making power that Armes did not,” the judge wrote at the time. “Armes’s evidence, if credited, supports the finding that the three musicians shared equal control in the session, making nonhierarchical contributions to a unitary whole.”
In addition to delaying the trial on Wednesday, Judge Wright also rejected another recent effort by Malone’s attorneys to dismiss the case entirely.
In a scathing motion filed earlier this month, Malone’s lawyers accused Armes of hiding certain texts, including additional messages to Dre London, that would have been crucial to Malone’s defense. Claiming Armes “intentionally misled the Court for his own tactical advantage” and was “making a mockery of the judicial process,” they asked the judge to toss the case out as punishment.
But on Wednesday, Judge Wright said Malone was not entitled to any sanctions against Armes at all, let alone a case-ending punishment: “Defendants fall short of the required showing for any such sanctions, including monetary sanctions, by a wide margin.”
An attorney for Malone did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.