Posted: 11:44 am Friday, August 11th, 2017
What type of time is Suge on?
Suge Knight is reportedly trying to buy witnesses to help clear his name in his murder case.
“I’ve never paid anyone, period, end of story,” lawyer Matt Fletcher told the Daily News.
“As far as I know, (witnesses) haven’t been paid by anyone,” he said. “I don’t believe Suge Knight has the money to pay anyone.”
The Los Angeles District Attorney filed paperwork Wednesday claiming they have a recorded jail call in which Knight and Fletcher discussed paying large sums to witnesses who would say Knight was the victim of an armed assault before he hit two men with his Ford Raptor truck outside a Compton burger stand in January 2015, killing local businessman Terry Carter.
“That’s a fair motherf—ing investment, you know, 20, 25 thousand dollars to pay to these motherf—ers to get home?” Fletcher allegedly said during the call on March 16, 2015, according to the DA paperwork obtained by The News.
Fletcher claimed to The News he wasn’t referring to witnesses but to members of a biker group who supposedly had cellphone video related to the parking lot confrontation.
“We were sending people out to try to find versions of the videotape,” Fletcher told The News.
“It would be a wonderful investment. TMZ would pay them. Radar would pay them,” he said, suggesting the five-figure payments would actually come from media outlets.
“They’re taking it out of context,” he said of the jail call excerpt included in the DA’s filing.
Prosecutors are asking for an “inquiry” into Fletcher, calling it a precautionary measure to sidestep the possibility Knight, 52, might claim in a future appeal that the lawyer acted inappropriately.
They claim Fletcher and Knight also worked together to violate a court order and sell the main surveillance video of the incident, shot by the restaurant’s cameras, to TMZ.com.
They say Knight, in a different jail recording, gave the green light to TMZ.com to buy the video for a whopping $55,000.
“They’re accusing me of trying to sell the tape to TMZ. I wasn’t even on the case then. I didn’t have the videotape,” Fletcher told The News.
The lawyer said he planned to ask the court why prosecutors were even allowed to listen to his calls with Knight in the first place.
Prosecutors said in their filing they were given access to certain calls involving Fletcher if Knight first called a third party, and then Fletcher was conferenced in. They said the third party allegedly broke the expectation of attorney-client privilege.
“I find that to be rather disquieting,” Fletcher told The News.
In the case of the March 2015 call, the third party was Knight’s business partner Mark Blankenship.
Prosecutors claimed in their filing that Knight also spoke to his fiancé Toilin Kelly about paying witnesses.
“The evidence is clear that as early as March 9, 2015, Fletcher, Kelly and Blankenship had an understanding that they were going to assist the defendant in procuring witnesses for his defense, which included payments for fabricated testimony,” the DA’s filing said.
Prosecutors further revealed in their paperwork that investigators sent a jailhouse informant to talk to Knight on a prison bus.
They said Knight referred the informant to his lawyers and that Knight’s camp eventually offered the man money in exchange for false testimony that he witnessed the restaurant incident.
“The defendant and Fletcher knew that to secure this testimony, money would have to exchange hands,” prosecutors said. “This is the essence of bribery: to influence a witness in exchange for him providing material testimony in a criminal proceeding.”
Fletcher denied any wrongdoing with the informant.
Last week, Knight pleaded not guilty to charges he threatened director F. Gary Gray over Knight’s depiction in Gray’s blockbuster 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton.”
Prosecutors claim Knight threatened Gray, both orally and via text, with bodily harm on August 8, 2014, if he did not acquiesce to his demands for either financial compensation or a stop to the film’s production.
Knight visited a production set for the film shortly before the deadly parking lot incident.
The judge hearing Knight’s criminal threats case is also expected to decide on the prosecution’s request for an inquiry into Fletcher. He did not immediately rule on the matter Thursday, setting a follow-up hearing for Sept. 11.
Knight — whose real name is Marion Knight – has been in jail 2½ years as he awaits trial for the alleged murder of Carter and attempted murder of Cle “Bone” Sloan.
Knight’s lawyers have consistently argued he was attacked by a gun-toting Sloan in the Compton restaurant parking lot before he hit the gas on his truck to escape, and ended up killing Carter.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, claim “no evidence” has emerged to show anyone pointed a gun at Knight or held a gun at the time Knight hit both victims with his truck.
“In fact, the witnesses interviewed clearly stated that they did not see any guns,” the Wednesday filing said. “Knight himself never mentioned a gun during his January 30, 2015 interview, only that he had been ‘ambushed.’”