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Judge refuses to lower Marion ‘Suge’ Knight’s $10-million bail in murder case

Marion “Suge” Knight

Marion “Suge” Knight arrives in court on March 9. Knight is accused of striking two men with his pickup and killing one, during an altercation in a Compton parking lot in January.

(Kevork Djansezian / Pool Photo)

A judge denied a request by Marion “Suge” Knight’s attorney Friday to reduce the former rap mogul’s bail from $10 million and to allow him to receive private medical care.

Knight, 49, has been in custody since January, when he allegedly got into a confrontation with Cle “Bone” Sloan and ran over him and Terry Carter with his truck. Carter died from his injuries.

Knight has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in connection with Carter’s death in the Jan. 29 incident at Tam’s Burgers in Compton.

At a court appearance Friday, Knight’s fourth attorney in the case, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., argued that an unedited video of the violent incident shows that his client acted in self-defense and that he shouldn’t have been criminally charged.

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Mesereau also disputed the assertion by prosecutors that Knight was a member of a gang and listed a host of reasons Knight was a credit to his community, including funding youth football teams and an annual banquet for single-mothers. He told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen that Knight was not a flight risk and asked for the bail be reduced.

“The man has done many, many positive things,” Mesereau said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia Barnes called the argument “disingenuous and disturbing” and argued that there was no change in circumstances to warrant a change of bail.

Coen denied the motion, saying that the video unveiled nothing new about the incident and noted that he had already reduced the bail from $25 million to $10 million.

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Coen also denied a request that Knight receive private medical treatment and a change of his jail housing.

Knight has collapsed several times in court and was hospitalized after complaining of stomach problems. During some previous court hearings, bailiffs pushed Knight into the courtroom on a stretcher.

Prosecutors outlined some of Knight’s criminal past in their request to increase his bail earlier this year.

Among the revelations from 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 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 alley and repeatedly vowed to kill him, according to a police report.

Prosecutors listed 31 incidents in the past decade in which Knight was accused of acting violently or threatening to do so, beginning with a 2004 report in which 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 investigating the assault, citing a fear of retaliation by Knight.

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Carter’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Knight and others who the family claim were responsible for putting the two men in contact with each other.

Knight also faces charges in a case in which prosecutors say he and comedian Micah “Katt” Williams stole a camera from an independent celebrity photographer on Sept. 5, 2014.

A preliminary hearing in the robbery case is set for Sept. 17.

Times staff writers Matt Hamilton and Marisa Gerber contributed to this report.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.


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