Two former attorneys for Marion "Suge" Knight, a co-founder of the seminal West Coast rap label Death Row Records, have been indicted for attempting to bribe potential witnesses for an upcoming murder case against Knight.
In the indictment, unsealed Monday by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, Knight's former attorneys, Matthew Powell Fletcher and Thaddeus Julian Culpepper, are charged with bribery, accessory after the fact and attempting to convince someone to commit perjury, among other crimes. The two are described as having tried to cultivate witnesses to testify on Knight's behalf during his pending murder trial.
The murder charges stem from a hit-and-run incident involving Knight in Jan. 2015 that left Heavyweight Records co-founder Terry Carter dead and severely injured filmmaker Cle "Bone" Sloan. Knight is accused of hitting the two men near the set of the Oscar-winning, 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton, and has claimed he was attempting to flee the scene because he feared for his safety. Last year, Knight was also indicted on charges that he threatened the director of Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray.
According to the indictment, Knight's fiancee, Toi-Lin Kelly, texted Mark Blankenship, Knight's business partner, saying "Matt [Fletcher] had put some bread out there" to get witnesses to "come around." As well, in March, 2015, Fletcher is said in the indictment to have "told ... Knight that witness Marvin Kincy would say there were guns at the murder scene and they would give Marvin money for his testimony," which could bolster Knight's self-defense claim, and that "20-25 thousand dollars was a fair investment to secure his freedom." Cle "Bone" Sloan is said to have "needed to be paid money for his testimony," which Knight is said to have agreed to. The two attorneys face a maximum sentence of three years and eight months.
A police informant is also said to have told Culpepper he was not near the scene of the collision, but would testify on Knight's behalf regardless. Culpepper is said to have agreed.
The two attorneys were arrested and released on January 26, the Los Angeles Times reported — two days after the charges unsealed today were approved by the grand jury.
Kelly herself was sentenced to three years in jail last month for a parole violation. The probation had been granted after she pleaded no contest to selling surveillance footage of Knight's hit-and-run to TMZ for $55,000.