Knight Associate Takes Plea

Times Staff Writer

An associate of rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight pleaded no contest Tuesday to assault with a firearm in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to drop an attempted-murder charge.

Timothy McDonald was sentenced to one year in jail and five years' probation. He has credit for serving nearly a year in jail awaiting trial.

Last month, a Superior Court judge declared a mistrial in his case after jurors deadlocked on his guilt. McDonald was in court Tuesday for a hearing on his retrial.

Prosecutors accused him of going to South Los Angeles on Oct. 22, 2002, to kill a rival gang member. They said he pointed a gun out a car window but pulled it back without firing when sheriff's deputies drove by.

His attorney, Anthony Brooklier, countered that his client went to the neighborhood to pay his respects to a friend who had been killed days before, and that he had no plans to shoot anyone. No intended victim has been identified in the case.

Brooklier said Tuesday that McDonald maintained his innocence but believed it was "in his best interest" to change his plea.

"Trials are always risky," the attorney said. "The potential loss here was devastating -- it's life in prison versus take a plea and go home today."

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