Los Angeles – Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight’s access to visitors and phone calls have been completely cut off at the request of sheriff’s investigators, court records shows.
Court records show Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C Ryan on Friday cut Knight’s access to phone calls and non-attorney visitors. The order was issued at the request of a sheriff’s detective investigating Knight’s murder case, in which he is charged with running over two men, killing one, outside a Compton burger stand in January 2015.
Details about what prompted the order to restrict Knight’s access to visitors are under seal. Knight’s attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper, did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
The order came a week after Knight reshuffled his legal team for the fifth time, dropping criminal defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau and enlisting the services of former prosecutor Stephen Schwartz. No details for the change have been given in open court. Culpepper was designated lead counsel on the case at the time.
Court records show the sheriff’s request to restrict Knight’s jail privileges had been received a week earlier. Judge Ronald Coen, who is handling separate murder and robbery cases against Knight, asked that the sheriff’s request about jail issues be assigned to a different judge.
Sheriff’s officials had no comment on the change in Knight’s jail accommodations.
Knight ran over two men outside a Compton, California, burger stand in late January 2015, killing one and seriously injuring the other. He later turned himself in to police, and his attorneys have contended that he was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over the men.
He is being held on $10m bail and has pleaded not guilty. Sheriff’s officials first asked for Knight’s access to all non-attorney visitors to be restricted in March 2015, and Coen approved the restrictions.
Knight, 50, was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his Death Row Records label once listed Dr Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists. He lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.
He faces potential life sentences if convicted in either case because of prior convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun.
Knight is due back in court on 22 February.