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Kanye West’s latest link to Trump is captured in a grinning mug shot

Rapper’s former publicist Trevian Kutti among 18 co-conspirators named in Fani Willis’s indictment, the latest chapter in Ye’s bizarre relationship with Magaworld

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 25 August 2023 17:17 BST
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Donald Trump indicted for fourth time

Donald Trump has now been arrested for the fourth time after Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, charged him with racketeering and election meddling in her state as he sought to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

But Mr Trump was not alone: 18 co-defendants were also named in the 98-page document, including the former president’s attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman and ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

One of the more surprising names on the list was that of Trevian Kutti, a one-time publicist for the rapper Kanye West, who wore a wide grin as she surrendered for arrest on 25 August.

Ms Willis accuses Ms Kutti, 51, of witness intimidation in the indictment, claiming that she travelled to the home of election worker Ruby Freeman in January 2021 as part of an attempt to pressure her into confessing that Mr Trump’s bogus election fraud narrative was true and that a giant conspiracy to defraud voters at the ballot box really had been carried out on Mr Biden’s behalf.

According to the indictment, Ms Freeman became scared after Ms Kutti warned her she would be arrested unless she came forward within 48 hours and duly called the police, whereupon an officer arrived and took both women to a nearby police station. Ms Kutti was then recorded on bodycam footage issuing further threats to Ms Freeman.

Trevian Kutti is seen in her mug shot (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

A spokesman for Mr West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, told Reuters in 2021: “Trevian Kutti was not associated with Kanye West or any of his enterprises at the times of the facts that are reported in these articles or since these facts occurred.”

The Independent has since contacted his representatives for further comment.

Ye had made a half-hearted attempt to run for the presidency himself in 2020 and has recently claimed that he will not only run again in 2024 but that he has asked Mr Trump to be his running mate.

The Republican front-runner is highly unlikely to accept, however, and the prospect appears remote indeed at the time of writing after Ye endured a nightmarish end to 2022 thanks to a series of self-inflicted scandals that began in October when he chose to appear at Paris Fashion Week alongside far-right commentator Candace Owens wearing matching “White Lives Matter” T-shirts.

Matters only got worse when he subsequently appeared on the Drink Champs podcast and made a series of vicious antisemitic comments, also falsely claiming that George Floyd – the Black man murdered by police officers in Minneapolis in May 2020, sparking international protests – had been on drugs at the time, bringing further condemnation and a $250m lawsuit from the deceased’s family.

Kanye West and Donald Trump (Getty)

Doubling down on his remarks and issuing further slurs on Twitter, Ye ultimately lost a string of lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Adidas, Balenciaga, Gap and Skechers before ending the year with a disastrous appearance on Alex Jones’s InfoWars show in December in which he expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler, finally losing his Twitter account when he followed that up by posting an image of a swastika inside the Star of David.

In the middle of that rolling furore, Ye had brought the controversy to Mr Trump’s door when he invited white supremacist and Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes to dinner at Mar-a-Lago on 22 November, forcing his host to claim afterwards that he had not known the latter’s track record when he welcomed the rapper’s “campaign manager” inside.

A source told Axios, however, that Mr Trump had allegedly said of Mr Fuentes at the meal: “I really like this guy. He gets me.”

Not pleased about the ensuing bad publicity, which brought angry condemnation from both sides of the aisle, Mr Trump was forced to go on the defensive and insist that he did not share Mr Fuentes’s views, touting his favourable policies towards Israel while in office as evidence.

Before all that, Ye had previously sought out Mr Trump with unannounced visits to Trump Tower in New York City in November 2016 and the White House in October 2018, on the second occasion sporting a red MAGA cap and enthusiastically proclaiming that it made him feel “like Superman”.

Surrounded by baffled photographers and staffers in the Oval Office, the men discussed a wide range of topics, from North Korea to prison reform, mental health and even Ye’s designs for a new hydrogen-powered “iPlane” before he was politely ushered out to allow the commander-in-chief to resume his duties.

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