Suge Knight Gets New Lawyer In Last-Ditch-Effort To Avoid Life Sentence

Suge Knight faces life in prison

Former rap mogul Suge Knight may have just lost his best hope at freedom. Billboard reports that Suge Knight recently hired former prosecutor Stephen L. Schwartz to represent him in a murder case. Schwartz is the fifth attorney to take on Marion “Suge” Knight’s murder case. He replaced Thomas Mesereau, who famously secured an acquittal for Michael Jackson on 2005 child molestation charges. Reportedly, Mesereau declined to provide a reason for his departure.

Knight with then attorney Tom Meseraeu
Suge Knight was arrested in January 2015 after he allegedly ran over two Compton men with his pickup truck after an argument. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Knight was escorted off of the set of a promotional video for the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton after a heated argument with Cle “Bone” Sloan. The argument escalated later outside of a fast-food restaurant. Knight maintains that Cle “Bone” Sloan attacked him, and that he accidentally ran over Cle “Bone” Sloan and 55-year-old Terry Carter. Carter later died of his injuries.

All of Suge Knight’s attorneys have maintained that Suge Knight acted in self-defense. According to the LA Times, Knight’s first attorney, James E. Blatt, claimed that Knight was attacked by four unidentified men, but video contradicts Knight’s version of events. In a surveillance video, Knight is clearly seen arguing with two men, Sloan and Carter, before running both men over.

Ironically, Suge Knight’s constant change of lawyers might be keeping him in jail even longer. According to Fox News, Mesereau’s appearance on Suge Knight’s legal team caused a three-month delay in the legal process to allow Mesereau time to file his own legal documents on Knight’s behalf. It seems likely that Schwartz would need a similar amount of time.

The longer Knight stays in jail awaiting trial, the less likely it seems that he will be released anytime soon. A Los Angeles judge set bail at $10 million for Knight’s second-degree murder charges, which Knight and his attorneys say he is unable to raise. Legal troubles and medical issues destroyed much of Knight’s empire and ultimately cost him Deathrow Records. Despite repeated requests, the judge and prosecutor have been unwilling to lower bail, citing Knight’s long and well known violent criminal history.

As previously reported in The Inquisitr, the road to Suge Knight’s murder trial took a strange turn in May 2015. Shortly before Thomas Mesereau joined the legal team, Knight’s then attorney, Matthew Fletcher, claimed he was contacted by representatives of Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Reportedly, the representatives asked about using Mayweather’s winnings from his highly anticipated bout with Manny Pacquiao to post bail on Suge Knight’s behalf. Mayweather’s representatives denied Fletcher’s claims, saying that while Mayweather and Knight were once close, the two hadn’t spoken in several years. But could there be another reason for Mayweather’s change of heart?

Knight's mugshot from the October 2014 arrest
According to the Daily News, Suge Knight is currently facing felony charges in two unrelated cases. In October 2014, Suge Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested in connection with the alleged theft of a paparazzo’s camera in September 2014. Suge Knight was released on $2.2 million bail, but bail was revoked because after the fatal hit-and-run, authorities reportedly deemed Knight a flight risk, and noted that Knight has an alleged history of witness tampering. That means that even if Knight were able to post the $10 million for the Compton case, he wouldn’t be free to leave jail until the case against him and Katt Williams goes to trial.

Suge Knight faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the robbery charge because of a prior felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. If he is also convicted of second-degree murder, Suge Knight faces life in prison.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]