(Reuters) - A widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marion “Suge” Knight, accusing the rap mogul of carelessly striking and killing her husband with his pickup truck during a fight outside a Southern California fast-food restaurant, court documents showed.
Universal Pictures, along with rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, were also named in the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles by Lillian Carter, whose husband Terry was killed in the Jan. 29 incident in Compton, California.
Knight, 50, was charged on Feb. 2 in criminal court with murder and attempted murder, accused of running over Carter, 55, and another man with his pickup after an argument on the set of a commercial for the film “Straight Outta Compton.” He has pleaded not guilty.
The film, due in theaters in August, is about the rise and fall of the Compton-based rap group N.W.A., founded by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Dr. Dre and producer Knight formed Death Row Records in the 1990s before their relationship soured, according to the suit.
Knight arrived on the set on Jan. 29 to discuss with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube his financial participation and depiction in the film. Carter, a respected member of the Compton business community, was brought along to ease tensions between Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Knight, the suit said.
An argument ensued in Tam’s Burgers parking lot between Knight and a man known as Bone, a member of the film’s security team. Lillian Carter alleges that Knight “carelessly, recklessly, violently, and negligently” drove his vehicle toward Bone, striking and killing her husband.
The lawsuit also alleges that Knight was a dangerous individual with a criminal record, and that Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Universal Pictures, the film’s distributor, did not do enough to keep him away from the movie set.
Howard King, an attorney for Dr. Dre, was quoted by the Associated Press as calling the lawsuit “preposterous”. No comment was immediately available from Ice Cube or Universal.
Knight was convicted in 1997 on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to court documents. If found guilty in the current trial, he faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Mark Trevelyan