Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight’s access to visitors and phone calls has been completely cut off at the request of sheriff’s investigators, according to court records that a newspaper cited Thursday.
The records show Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan on Friday cut Knight’s access to phone calls and non-attorney visitors, the Los Angeles Times reported. 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, according to The Times. Knight attorney Thaddeus Culpepper did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
The order came a week after Knight reshuffled his legal team for the fifth time, dropping criminal defense 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.
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, according to The Times.
There was no immediate comment from the sheriff’s department.
Knight ran over two men outside a Compton burger stand in late January 2015, killing one and seriously injuring the other. He later turned himself in to police. His attorneys have contended that he was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over the men.
The 50-year-old Knight is being held in lieu of $10 million bail and has pleaded not guilty. Sheriff’s officials first asked in March 2015 for Knight’s access to all non-attorney visitors to be restricted, and Coen approved the restrictions. Since then, he had steadily regained access to several other visitors, The Times reported.
Court records cited by The Times indicate Coen allowed Knight visits from his parents, seven of his children, two spiritual advisors, 11 attorneys, a bail bond agent and any notary public.
Under the new order, Knight loses all mail, phone and visitation privileges from everyone except his attorneys, Culpepper and Schwartz, and they are only allowed to visit him outside regular visiting hours, The Times reported. Although Knight can speak by telephone with his attorneys, Ryan’s order states that Knight’s lawyers cannot conduct a conference call or transfer the call to anyone else.
—City News Service
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