Public defenders for Duane “Keffe D” Davis have said that a book he co-wrote detailing his involvement in the Tupac Shakur killing was written for financial gain and “entertainment purposes.”
Davis, 60, was arrested and indicted earlier this year in connection with the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur more than 27 years ago near the Strip. Part of what tied him to the shooting, prosecutors have alleged, is a book Davis co-wrote in 2019 titled “Compton Street Legend” and subsequent interviews he gave that have been posted to YouTube.
“The book and video interviews were produced for a financial benefit under the belief that Duane had immunity,” Chief Deputy Special Public Defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano wrote in a motion filed last week. “Duane was paid a substantial amount of money to give his interviews on YouTube.”
The public defenders filed the motion on Thursday, asking for Davis to be released from custody on his own recognizance, or to be placed on bail not to exceed $100,000. Davis has been in custody without bail since he was indicted in September.
He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder with a deadly weapon with the intent to promote, further or assist a criminal gang.
Defense attorneys: Book done for entertainment purposes
Defense attorneys alleged that Davis wrote the book after former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Greg Kading publicized information from a “proffer agreement” between Davis and federal agents. Kading has said federal law enforcement planned to bring drug charges against Davis, and asked for information about Shakur’s killing in exchange for the potential of Davis facing a lighter sentence.
“The book and interviews were done for entertainment purposes and to make money from a situation that Kading and others had already profited,” defense attorneys wrote in Thursday’s motion.
Defense attorneys also accused prosecutors of presenting “an astounding amount of hearsay and speculative testimony” to the grand jury that indicted Davis.
Prosecutors have claimed that Davis orchestrated the shooting that killed Shakur and wounded Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight, in retaliation for a fight involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson.
Transcripts of grand jury testimony have shown that police linked Shakur’s killing with the murder of Christopher “Biggie” Wallace, with Knight allegedly orchestrating the hit against Wallace in retaliation for Shakur’s death.
Wallace, who was represented by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ company, Bad Boy Records, was in a documented feud with Shakur, prosecutors have said. Investigators have linked Death Row Records to the Bloods-associated Mob Piru gang, while Bad Boy Records and Davis have been linked to the South Side Crips.
Public defenders wrote that Knight’s public statements have contradicted Davis’ version of events given in his book and interviews, and that Knight has claimed Anderson was not involved in Shakur’s killing.
“Even if this Court was inclined to give the book and YouTube interviews some weight, it does not establish the killing of Shakur was premeditated and deliberate,” public defenders wrote.
Although defense attorneys said it was not established which parts of the book Davis allegedly wrote, they also argued that the book states Davis “intended to resort to ‘diplomatic measures’” after the fight between Shakur and Anderson at the MGM Grand. The book also alleges that Shakur reached for a gun when he saw a group of four men in a white Cadillac pull up next to the car that Knight was driving.
“Shakur was shot in self-defense after he reached for a weapon,” Thursday’s motion states. “Nowhere in the book is it alleged Duane ordered anyone to shoot Shakur and Knight.”
‘Going on the run would be death sentence’
Defense attorneys also argued that Davis has lived in Henderson for 10 years, is not a flight risk and does not have “any substantial means” of affording bail.
The motion also states that Davis’ health has suffered while he has been incarcerated in the Clark County Detention Center, and that he has not received oncology check-ups to prevent the re-occurrence of colon cancer he was first diagnosed with in 2014.
“He has serious health conditions that need to be regularly monitored,” Arroyo and Cano wrote in the motion. “Going on the run would be a death sentence for him.”
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Jan. 2, court records show.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at email@example.com or 702-383-0240.