Travis Scott isn’t likely to face criminal charges after the deadly chaos at his Astroworld Festival, according to legal experts… Legal experts told Insider it’s unlikely Travis Scott will face any criminal charges related to the deadly stampede at his Astroworld concert in Houston, but he could be held liable in civil lawsuits.
Eight people died and hundreds more were injured at the sold-out concert Friday after a crowd of around 50,000 people surged toward the stage while Scott was performing. The family of at least one victim of the violence has filed a lawsuit against Scott and other organizers of the event.
Dmitry Shakhnevich, an adjunct assistant professor at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice, said chances that Scott faces any criminal charges related to the concert are “slim.”
“Generally speaking, in order to face criminal liability you need some degree of intent — or at the very least — [a] gross level of negligence,” Shakhnevich told Insider.
Scott has previously pleaded guilty to concert-related charges. In 2017 he pleaded guilty to inciting a riot at a concert in Bentonville, Arkansas, and in 2017 he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct at Lollapalooza. At the previous concerts, police alleged that Scott encouraged fans to bypass security protocols and rush toward the stages.
Joseph Giacalone, an adjunct professor at the John Jay School, told Insider that anything Scott can be seen saying in videos of the concert “that could have been construed as a way to get everybody riled up” could be used against him to make the case that he intentionally incited a riot.
Still, Giacalone said it would be difficult for prosecutors to prove that Scott incited a riot because he could argue that anything he said was in the context of exciting the crowd for the concert.
“You’re at a rap concert, kids are excited, things happen,” Giacalone said.
According to Shaknevich, there needs to be a “direct connection” between something Scott said while on stage and the direct violence that took place for prosecutors to be able to argue that he intentionally incited violence.
Neama Rahmani, the president and a cofounder of personal-injury firm West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Insider he thought prosecutors would need to prove Scott had “conscious disregard for human life or the safety and well being of others” to charge him with manslaughter related to the event.
“You need something more than a tragic accident to get to criminal charges,” Rahmani said.
Rahmani said if prosecutors could find evidence of concertgoers directly telling Scott to stop the show, or found a witness that says they told him to stop the show, they could potentially bring manslaughter charges. “I just haven’t seen that evidence yet,” Rahmani said.
Though it is unlikely Scott will be criminally charged, Rahmani said concertgoers could have a “very strong case” for civil negligence against Scott and he could be held liable in lawsuits.
Rahmani said people looking to sue Scott for injuries caused to them or their family will probably sue everyone involved in the event, including security, promoters, the venue, and Scott himself. But, under Texas law, if one defendant is liable for at least 51% of the damages in a lawsuit, the plaintiff can get all of the damages they request from that one defendant.
“For this reason, you’ve got to name everyone, because if you don’t name someone and none of the defendants are more than 51% liable, then you’re not going to be made whole,” Rahmani said.
Rahmani said it’s common for multiple defendants to be named in lawsuits in Texas and that they normally “turn around and sue each other” in order to avoid being liable for the damages in the original suit.
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