Marion “Suge” Knight’s attorney said in a new court filing released Wednesday that video footage from a Jan. 29 confrontation in Compton — for which the former rap mogul is charged with murder and other counts — shows him being “viciously attacked and fleeing for his life.”
The defense’s motion, filed by attorney Thomas Mesereau, seeks to have Knight’s bail reduced from $10 million at a July 17 hearing.
Knight, 50, remains jailed while awaiting the hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen.
“Defendant will produce a new, uncut video of the incident giving rise to the present charges,” Mesereau wrote in the filing.
“The court has not yet seen this video. This video shows defendant being viciously attacked and fleeing for his life. Most significantly, the video discloses one of his attackers brandishing a weapon. When this armed attacker dropped his gun, the video depicts an associate retrieving the weapon and placing it in his waistband.”
Knight is charged with killing 55-year-old Terry Carter and injuring Cle “Bone” Sloan with his pickup truck in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue during the run-in.
Mesereau — the latest in a string of attorneys representing Knight — wrote in the court filing that surveillance video “clearly shows that Knight displayed no aggression or hostility when he arrived and was approached by Mr. Cle ‘Bone’ Sloan.”
“While sitting in his truck, Knight was assaulted violently and without provocation by Mr. Sloan. This is visible on the surveillance video and Mr. Sloan has acknowledged that he attacked Knight. Mr. Sloan was armed, as were others. Weapons are visible on the video provided to the court,” the defense attorney wrote.
At a hearing in April in which Knight was ordered to stand trial on one count each of murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run, Sloan denied that he had a gun with him that day.
“I didn’t have a gun … I don’t need a gun. I’m a filmmaker … Why would I take a gun to work?” Sloan testified.
Sloan insisted that he remembered little about the confrontation and testified that he would not be used as a “snitch” to put Knight behind bars.
In the latest motion filed Tuesday, Mesereau wrote that Knight is “entitled to reasonable bail.”
He noted that the bail for actor Robert Blake — whom he defended for a time in a murder case — was set at $1.5 million. Another of his clients, the late pop superstar Michael Jackson, who was ultimately acquitted of child molestation charges, was freed on $3 million bail, according to Mesereau’s motion.
The defense filing also cites Knight’s “substantial community ties, his long history of charitable contributions of both time and money” and his “present serious medical condition,” and says that the prosecution “vastly exaggerated Knight’s criminal history” in an earlier filing.
In a separate court filing seeking an order for Knight to be allowed to have private medical care, Mesereau wrote that “Knight suffers from significant health issues that are not being adequately addressed by the Sheriff’s Department.”
“His known ailments include diabetes and hypertension, plus he is 100 percent blind in the left eye and partially blind in the right,” Mesereau wrote.
“Since his arrest and incarceration at Men’s Central Jail on the instant charges, he has passed out numerous times and been taken to USC Medical Center, then returned to his cell without being told what the medical results were. He is currently suffering from numbness on one entire side of his body, and has been advised by medical staff that they suspect he may have a brain tumor.”
At a hearing Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus denied a defense motion to dismiss the case against Knight. He said he had reviewed transcripts from the April preliminary hearing before Coen.