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Toronto rapper denies position in daylight execution, says money and prop weapons ‘a part of my picture’

The sound of rap music stuffed a downtown courtroom on Wednesday as a Toronto jury obtained a crash course within the metropolis’s drill scene whereas a neighborhood rapper denied any involvement within the brazen daylight homicide of Antonio Fiorda.

Testifying in his personal protection, Saaid Mohiadin, 33, who performs as Flippa, mentioned he had no data of the Nov. 4, 2019, execution-style killing of the 50-year-old outdoors the Through Allegro restaurant throughout from busy Sherway Gardens mall in Etobicoke.

Prosecutors allege Keeshawn Brown, a rapper who carried out as Why-S earlier than his dying, shot Fiorda 9 instances and that Mohiadin drove a Ford pickup truck to and from the crime scene.

“No, I didn’t,” Mohiadin mentioned when requested by his lawyer, Dirk Derstine.

By coincidence, provincial cops occurred to be conducting surveillance on organized crime figures in an unrelated investigation. A member of the surveillance crew adopted the truck and described the motive force, referring to him as a Black male sporting shiny framed glasses and his hair styled in braids and dreadlocks that prolonged down the facet of his face.

On Wednesday, Derstine performed varied music movies in court docket that includes Mohiadin and different younger males, together with the video for “Downfall,” on which he performs with native stars Robin Banks and Houdini. The lawyer famous others along with his comparable peak and construct, suggesting the flawed man is on trial for first-degree homicide. A number of instances, Mohiadin referred to himself as somebody who’s wrongfully accused.

Tall and lanky and sporting thick braids operating previous his shoulders and sporting a darkish blue swimsuit, Mohiadin’s preliminary nerves eased as he described how he was born in Somalia earlier than coming to Toronto when he was a yr previous. He and his six siblings settled with their mother and father in Lawrence Heights, one of many metropolis’s most impoverished neighborhoods close to Yorkdale. His dad drove a truck, later a taxi. His mother stayed at residence.

Mohiadin defined he dropped out of highschool, labored part-time jobs and headed out west the place he amassed a prison document with convictions for possession of a weapon, uttering threats, assault with a weapon, hinder peace officer and lots of failure to adjust to court docket orders.

After returning to Toronto in the summertime of 2019, Mohiadin mentioned he was making $1,000 a day from cocaine gross sales whereas making music movies with well-liked native rappers, together with Robin Banks and High 5, who obtained a shout-out from megastar Drake in one in every of his songs. (Derstine performed an excerpt for the jury.)

In November 2019, across the time of the taking pictures, Mohiadin mentioned he was staying in a downtown Airbnb rental at 455 Entrance St. with 4 or 5 different males, together with Brown, and a person he knew solely as “Huge Crow.” He testified he nonetheless doesn’t know his title from him.

On the day of the homicide, Nov. 4., Mohiadin advised the jury he felt “actually sick” and slept many of the day after a late night time partying to have fun his twenty ninth birthday. On the time, he was “on the run” in Toronto after violating parole situations in Alberta. When he wakened that afternoon, Mohiadin testified that Brown and “Huge Crow” returned to the condo, “closed the door” and saved to themselves. Mohiadin mentioned he left them alone and returned to watching the Netflix present “Narcos.”

That night, Mohiadin mentioned Brown gave him a spare iPhone to make use of, as he had executed on earlier events. Police later seized the cellphone and the jury has seen many incriminating textual content messages and movies the Crown says present Mohiadin and Brown celebrating the killing with stacks of money — allegedly payoff cash.

Mohiadin acknowledged he’s the person who seems in pictures and movies however mentioned he wasn’t celebrating, simply “rapping.” All the cash belonged to Brown, not him. And any firearms that he seems to be brandishing have been imitation “props” he present in a recording studio.

“I am an artist whose style is drill rap and simply did it for my followers,” Mohiadin advised Superior Courtroom on Wednesday. “It is a part of my picture.”

The drill style is characterised by lyrics rhapsodizing drug dealing and violence.

“Is it meant to be truthful communication,” Derstine requested? “Are you truly saying ‘hey it is a actual gun, I am utilizing an actual gun?’”

No, Mohiadin replied, including that artists usually “lie about what they’ve on a regular basis.” Mohiadin referred to Drake renting a Rolls-Royce “till he obtained the cash to purchase it.”

“Guys speak about crime that they did not even commit and stuff like that, you are simply attempting to promote this picture.”

Cross-examination is anticipated Thursday.

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