Two former attorneys for rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight were indicted on charges of conspiring to bribe potential witnesses in Knight’s murder case, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday.
The federal grand jury indictment accuses the attorneys, Matthew Fletcher and Thaddeus Culpepper, of bribing people to provide favorable testimonies in Knight’s murder trial. Knight is awaiting trial in a Los Angeles County jail on suspicion of killing Terry Carter, 55, and injuring Cle “Bone” Sloan, with his truck in a Compton parking lot in January 2015.
Authorities say Fletcher and Culpepper bribed people who witnessed the incident. They say that following Knight’s arrest, Fletcher told his client they could pay $20,000 to $25,000 in exchange for testimony that would exonerate Knight. They also instructed Knight to pay the surviving victim, Sloan, for his testimony, prosecutors say.
According to the indictment, a confidential informant told Culpepper he would be willing to give a favorable testimony for Knight. The informant told Culpepper he would say he saw weapons at the murder scene, according to prosecutors, to give credibility to Knight’s defense in that he feared for his life and that was why he struck the two men with his truck.
Prosecutors say the informant agreed to be a defense witness even though he was not at the scene.
On Jan. 24, a federal grand jury returned indictment charging Fletcher and Culpepper on counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit subordination of perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and accessory after the fact. The indictments were unsealed Monday.
Both men were arrested Jan. 25 and held at Los Angeles County jails but were released the next day. An attorney for Fletcher said his client was not charged by the DA’s office at the time of his arrest.
Culpepper, 44, was also charged on two other counts including violating a court order that restricted Knight’s phone privileges. Fletcher, 53, also faces one count of perjury. If convicted, the men face up to three years and eight months in county jail.
Knight’s girlfriend pleaded no contest to violating a court order by selling video evidence that was under the court’s seal. In February, a state judge sentenced her to three years in jail for violating the terms of her probation. Knight also faces charges in a separate case involving robbery and criminal threats, and prosecutors continue to juggle his court appearances in LA courts.
Meanwhile, Knight’s business partner Mark Blankenship faces one felony count each on the suspicion of conspiracy to violate a court order, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to commit grand theft.
Knight’s former attorneys are scheduled to be arraigned March 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court.