Judge refuses to lower Suge Knight's bail in murder case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge refused to lower bail Friday for former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight after determining his lawyers had not presented any new circumstances that would warrant reducing it from $10 million.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen made the ruling after reviewing a video of the incident that defense attorneys had described as a new, unedited, version of Knight running over two men with his pickup truck outside a Compton burger stand in January.
"There's nothing new in the video," Coen said. Grainy surveillance footage from the burger stand was played in court in April, and Knight's attorneys submitted a longer version of the video this week.
Knight's attorney Thomas Mesereau also argued that prosecutors had presented an unfair picture of his client's criminal history and told Coen that the Death Row Records co-founder wasn't a gang member. "He is not a flight risk," the attorney said. "He is not a danger to the community."
Coen disagreed. "I've heard nothing that would convince me that bail is insufficient," he said.
Knight has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges.
The judge also rejected a motion by Knight's lawyers to allow a private doctor to evaluate the 50-year-old in jail. Coen said his review of records submitted in the case showed Knight appeared to be receiving excellent medical care.
Knight was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his Death Row Records label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists. He lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.
Mesereau and Knight's previous attorneys have said the Death Row Records co-founder was ambushed and fleeing an armed attacker when he ran over the men in January. Terry Carter, 55, was killed and Cle "Bone" Sloan was seriously injured.
Sloan has denied he was carrying a gun before he began punching Knight through the window of his pickup truck. Sloan and Knight have a history of problems, and Sloan testified earlier this year that he was upset because he overheard Knight talking about him outside the burger stand.
Mesereau said in court that the FBI has done an enhancement of the surveillance footage of the incident for prosecutors. "Our position is that these people had guns, they had weapons," Mesereau said.
The judge said he viewed the unenhanced video numerous times and said he couldn't tell if an object dropped by Sloan was a gun. Coen said another man, who is seen picking something up from the ground and putting it in his back pocket, remained on the scene and was near deputies and paramedics who likely would have spotted a weapon.
Knight is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 17.