Judge denies witness details in murder case of rap mogul
LOS ANGELES -- Defense lawyers for Marion "Suge" Knight will not be given addresses and other information about confidential informants and key witnesses in the murder case against the former rap mogul, a judge ruled Friday after a closed-door meeting with a prosecutor and police detective.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen made the decision after prosecutors cited Knight's history of violence and allegations that he has intimidated witnesses.
However, Coen said some of the details will need to be disclosed shortly before Knight goes on trial.
The 51-year-old Knight was boisterous throughout the hearing and at one point complained that he wasn't receiving proper medical treatment in jail. He told the judge he recently spent 10 days in a hospital after doctors found blood clots in his arm and neck..
"I'd hate to go through all of this and die in jail," Knight said during lengthy remarks to the judge. "I just know my time is ticking some days because of my health."
"I think it's really important you listen to me because I have no one else to talk to," Knight said.
Coen said he would sign any orders for medical treatment that Knight required. "I don't want you dying," he said.
Knight lashed out at his attorneys during a recess after he spoke to Coen, who had urged Knight to heed the advice of his lawyers to remain silent. Knight could be heard yelling after deputies took him out of the courtroom.
"I have a right to know what is going on," Knight told his lawyers. "This has to be a real conversation. I'm not an idiot, you have to consult with me."
Knight's attorney J. Tooson said his client's reaction was "natural in a case this high-profile." He also noted that Knight hasn't been able to see his fiancee Toi-Lin Kelly and young son.
Kelly said during the recess that Knight addressed the judge directly because he isn't being treated fairly.
"He feels like has a voice and he can talk to somebody," she said.
Knight has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges filed after security camera video showed him running over two men in January 2015 outside a Compton burger stand. One of the men died.
Knight could face life in prison if convicted. A trial date has not been set.
His lawyers had wanted details about people who saw the confrontation, including some who are gang members. One of the witnesses is Cle "Bone" Sloan, who survived being hit by Knight's pickup truck after he repeatedly punched the former mogul during the incident. The judge withheld Sloan's address from Knight's lawyers.
Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes said she would arrange interviews of Sloan and other witnesses by Knight's lawyers.
Knight's Death Row Records label fueled gangster rap's popularity in the 1990s, with a roster of artists that included Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. He lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.
Knight pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rappers in 1992. He was sentenced to prison in 1997 for violating his probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting as he rode in Knight's car.
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