LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Friday rejected a request by rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight to lower his bail for murder charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run, saying that there was nothing new in video evidence submitted by his defense lawyers.
Attorney Tom Mesereau had argued that a recording of the January 29 incident outside Tam’s Burgers in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton had shown, among other things, that one of the men Knight ran over with his pick-up truck was armed.
“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,” Mesereau wrote in court papers seeking lower bail for his high-profile client.
The attorney claimed that Knight, co-founder of influential hip hop label Death Row Records, had been “viciously attacked” at the burger stand and was fleeing for his life when he struck Terry Carter and Cle “Bone” Sloan with his Ford F-150.
Carter, 55, was struck and killed by the truck. Sloan, 51, survived his injuries. The incident was captured by surveillance cameras from Tam’s Burgers.
But Judge Ronald Coen, during a brief hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, said the videotape did not show anything that would clearly indicate that Knight was acting in self-defense.
“I could not tell if the object was a gun,” Coen said. “But it would appear if I had a gun in my pocket I certainly wouldn’t be bending over in view of deputy sheriffs.”
The videotape shows Knight trading punches with Sloan through the driver’s side window before reversing the truck and accelerating through the restaurant’s parking lot.
The 50-year-old rap producer is charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of felony hit-and-run in the incident and could face 25 years to life in prison under California’s so-called three-strikes law if he is convicted.
Coen also denied Knight’s request to move to a different jail cell and to receive private medical care.
Reporting by Phoenix Tso in Los Angeles; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Lambert