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Suge Knight Trial Postponed Yet Again, Likely Until 2017
The murder trial of former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight—previously slated to begin in August—has been postponed yet again. Knight's new lawyer (there have been a few) told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen that the defense had yet to hire any experts, and that "there hasn't been a single witness interviewed," according to City News Service. The trial now likely won't begin until January or February 2017.J. Tooson, Knight's defense attorney, also told the judge that an August start date would be "impossible" because of the "heavily redacted" witness lists that they'd been provided by prosecutors. Tooson later told reporters that the majority of witness names in documents handed over by the prosecution during discovery were blacked out.
The Death Row Records founder is facing murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges stemming from a January 2015 incident that took place in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers in Compton. Knight allegedly got into an argument with a man named Cle "Bone" Sloan while shooting a commercial for Straight Outta Compton, and then tangled with him again later that day at Tam's Burgers.
Knight and Sloan exchanged punches and then Knight, who was still seated in his vehicle, reversed his truck knocking Sloan to the ground. He then allegedly drove forward, striking Sloan and Terry Carter, who was standing next to Sloan. Carter died at the scene (hence the murder charges), Sloan survived (attempted murder), and Knight allegedly drove off without alerting the authorities (hit-and-run charge).
In January of 2015, Knight's then-attorney James E. Blatt contradicted this version of events in the L.A. Times, saying that Knight had come to Tam's at Carter's invitation, and that after being attacked by four men, including Sloan, he was trying to escape when he ran over the two men. Blatt said that Knight was heartbroken when he learned of Carter's death.
"We strongly caution anyone from rushing to judgment in this case based on Mr. Knight's past," Tooson told City News Service when he took over Knight's case earlier this month. Tooson replaced Knight's most recent attorney Thaddeus Culpepper, who still remains as Knight's counsel of record for a robbery case in which Knight and comedian Micah "Katt" Williams, are accused of taking a camera from a female paparazzi in September 2014.
Knight has been plagued by health problems while in jail, collapsing during a bail hearing, and undergoing an emergency appendectomy in March. He seems to still be having difficulties, per City News Services' report:
When asked today how he felt about having his next pretrial date moved to July 6, Knight seemed to misunderstand the judge. "I'm doing better, your honor, thanks for asking," Knight said.
When the judge clarified his question, one of the defense attorneys explained that Knight had had "a rough morning."
Tooson declined to go into detail about the particulars.