Seeking $25-million bail for 'Suge' Knight, prosecutors detail 'life of crime'

Calling 'Suge' Knight a 'prolific and unrepentant criminal,' prosecutors request $25-million bail

Arguing that Marion "Suge" Knight’s bail be set at $25 million, a Los Angeles County prosecutor called the former rap mogul a “prolific and unrepentant criminal” who has led a “shameless life of crime,” according to court papers filed Thursday.

To back up the claim, Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia J. Barnes documented the Death Row Records co-founder’s extensive brushes with the law in 295 pages of written arguments and supporting evidence, including an affidavit and more than two dozen police reports that implicate Knight in robberies, extortion, money laundering, assaults, witness intimidation and battery.

Knight, 49, is scheduled to appear in Judge Ronald S. Coen’s downtown courtroom on Friday for a bail review hearing, when Barnes will argue for the multimillion-dollar bond.

Among the revelations from the court documents:

--Knight is suspected of extorting “taxes” from rappers and athletes who want to work in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, according to a sworn affidavit submitted by Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Biddle.

--Knight and a woman in Las Vegas are also involved in laundering more than $10 million since 2002 through a network of bank accounts, according to Biddle.

--In 2014, a man told the LAPD that Knight held him at gunpoint for about 10 minutes in an alleyway and repeatedly vowed to kill him, according to a police report.

Barnes listed 31 incidents in the last decade in which Knight was accused of acting violently or threatening to do so, beginning with a 2004 report where a woman claimed that, on Knight’s orders, she was punched in the face outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. She later refused to cooperate with police, citing a fear of retaliation by Knight.

An attorney representing Knight, Matthew P. Fletcher, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Knight is accused of deliberately running over Terry Carter, 55, and Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, in a restaurant parking lot on Jan. 29 following an argument on the set for a commercial about the film “Straight Outta Compton.”

He is charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of hit-and-run with an allegation that he committed a violent felony while out on bail in another case.

The court documents highlight that the production of “Straight Outta Compton” sparked Knight’s anger last year.

In 2014, Knight became angry “that he was not compensated for his likeness in the movie,” and vowed in text messages to “play hardball,” according to evidence gathered by investigators.

In a message to an unidentified person – in which Knight referred to Dr. Dre with a homophobic slur and to Ice Cube as a “Taft High school graduate” – he promised that the trio would get their “hugs,” slang for a physical altercation, according to court filings.

The morning after Carter’s death, Knight was arrested. Initially his bail was set around $2 million, but bail was revoked on Feb. 2 after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials argued that he was a possible flight risk and had "witness intimidation issues.” They also cited his criminal past.

Prosecutors cannot request that Knight be held without bail because no special circumstance allegations have been filed against him, in accordance with the county’s bail schedule.

In seeking such a high amount, Barnes noted that at the time of Carter’s death, Knight was out on bail in the case of an alleged robbery. He and Micah "Katt" Williams are accused of stealing a Beverly Hills photographer's camera in the Sept. 5 incident. 

"Not only did he disregard the constraints of bail, he escalated his criminal behavior to murder and attempted murder," Barnes  wrote.

"Knight's extensive history of violence, both in this case and over the last 30 years, clearly demonstrates that he is physically incapable of stopping his violent criminal behavior.”

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

10:28 p.m.: This story was updated throughout with additional details from court filings.

This story was originally published at 5:46 p.m.

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