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Prosecutors want Suge Knight's bail set at $25m

20 March 2015, 14:38

Los Angeles - Prosecutors on Thursday requested that a judge set bail for Marion "Suge" Knight at $25m in his murder case and say the former rap music mogul has extorted millions from rappers in recent years.

The motion filed by Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes cites 31 incidents in which Knight is accused of threatening others or using violence since 2004, including threats he made about the upcoming film Straight Outta Compton.

The motion also says Knight has been involved in money-laundering and extortion schemes targeting up-and-coming as well as established rappers in recent years.

Knight and an associate have been involved in an extortion scheme that has netted more than $10m, an affidavit filed by a sheriff's detective says. "Apparently when a new artist or rapper comes to either Los Angeles or Las Vegas, he is required to pay a 'tax' to defendant Knight," Barnes' motion states.

The Death Row Records co-founder is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom on Friday morning for a hearing regarding his bail.

He is being held without bail on murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges filed after he struck striking two men, killing one of them, with his truck during a fight in a Compton, California, parking lot in late January.

Knight, 49, has pleaded not guilty.

Pay a bond

A phone message for Knight's attorney, Matthew Fletcher, was not immediately returned.

If Knight attempts to post bail, Barnes has requested that he prove the money has not come from illegal activities.

If Los Angeles Superior Court Ronald Coen grants Knight bail, he would either have to post the entire amount in cash or pay a bond company 8% of the bail amount and they would put up the whole amount, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lou Shapiro said.

The bond company would keep Knight's money — $2m if Knight's bail is set at $25m — as its fee, Shapiro said.

Among the allegations of threats included in the motion is a summary of a heavily-redacted police report taken last year from someone who claims Knight threatened them over Straight Outta Compton, a film about the rise of the gangster rap group NWA.

"Knight was angry that he was not compensated for his likeness in the movie," Barnes' motion states. It adds that Knight warned the unidentified victim that he was prepared to attack over the film and would target former NWA members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.

Member of Bloods gang

Knight's 1994 conviction on a federal firearms charge and a 1995 conviction on two counts of assault with a firearm that led to a lengthy prison sentence are also cited in the motion to support.

According to an affidavit from a sheriff's investigator, Knight is part of an extortion scheme of rappers and professional athletes that is jointly run by the Crips and Bloods street gangs. Knight is a member of the Bloods gang, according to the affidavit signed by Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Biddle.

The manager of an unidentified "well-known" rapper told detectives that Knight and a Crips gang leader wanted $30 000 from the performer every time he came to Los Angeles, Biddle wrote.

Biddle stated detectives began looking into the extortion scheme after Knight was shot six times last year at a West Hollywood, California, nightclub on the weekend of the MTV Video Music Awards.

- AP


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