Suge Knight Says Jail Conditions Hampering His Defense

Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight said Thursday that he will seek to delay his upcoming murder trial because jail restrictions will not allow him to talk often enough with his attorney to properly fight the charges.

Knight spoke for more than 10 minutes during a court hearing in Los Angeles, telling the judge that he had been prevented from speaking with his lawyer or interviewing others he wants to represent him.

Photo: Nick Ut/AP, Pool
Sitting in court during a bail hearing in his murder case, in Los Angeles.

“This is my life,” Knight said, urging the judge to allow him to call more frequently.

Knight’s attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper, said he will ask to delay an August trial date in the coming weeks because the Death Row Records co-founder had been unable to meet with his investigator since late January.

Knight, who was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, has been kept under tight security since he was charged last year with running over two men, killing one, outside a Compton burger stand.

The 51-year-old had his privileges to visit or call family members rescinded earlier this year in an order issued under seal.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen did not delay the trial. Another judge who later heard a motion about Knight’s jailhouse conditions did not immediately rule about access to attorneys.

Judge William C. Ryan did not indicate how he would rule but said he did not intend to unfairly limit Knight’s calls to his lawyers.

Knight said detectives handling the case placed a jailhouse informant in a cell next to him and that man had access to more evidence in the case than he did.

“I read my murder book from a jailhouse informant,” Knight said, referencing a document that compiles major evidence in a homicide case.

A prosecutor declined to address Knight’s allegations, and Culpepper did not bring up the informant issue at the second hearing.

Knight’s 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 because of prior convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun.

Knight has suffered several medical episodes while in custody and recently underwent surgery after his appendix burst. He told Judge Coen that he had lost 65 pounds.

“I’m better,” Knight said.