Suge Knight collapses in courtroom after bail is set at $25 million
Just moments after his bail was set at $25 million, former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight collapsed in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday morning.
Los Angeles Fire Department officials wheeled a gurney into the courtroom and assisted Knight, who was unconscious, his attorney said.
“Just, bam,” Matthew Fletcher said. “He’s unconscious right now.”
Knight was taken to a jail hospital ward where he was being evaluated, said Nicole Nishida, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia J. Barnes said she believed Knight “did it in front of the cameras.”
During the hearing to discuss his bail on murder and other charges, Knight’s left shoulder was twitching and he appeared to tense up.
In court, Fletcher argued for a lower bail amount, saying Knight was not a flight risk because he was recognizable.
“If his name wasn’t Suge Knight, they wouldn’t have filed this case,” he said.
But Barnes said she didn’t believe a $25-million bail was high enough.
To back up the claim, Barnes documented the Death Row Records cofounder’s extensive brushes with the law in nearly 300 pages of written arguments and supporting evidence, including more than two dozen police reports and an affidavit that implicate Knight in robberies, extortion, money laundering, assaults, witness intimidation and battery.
“When I wrote this, I was appalled … he basically is above the law,” she said.
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 of a woman who 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.
Knight’s attorney 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.” Carter died.
Knight 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.
The morning after Carter’s death, Knight was arrested. Initially his bail was set at around $2 million, but 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.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.