Lawyers for Marion “Suge” Knight’s fiancee — who is accused of selling video evidence that is under seal in the former rap mogul’s murder case — filed court papers Monday seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Toi-Lin Kelly, 36, appeared in a downtown courtroom in dark blue jail clothes, with her hands cuffed behind her. She and Knight’s business partner, Mark Blankenship, 57, are facing one felony count each of conspiracy to violate a court order, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to commit grand theft.
Kelly and Blankenship are accused of arranging the sale of a video of a fatal hit-and-run crash in which Knight is charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run. He allegedly plowed down two men with a pickup truck in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue on Jan. 29, 2015. Terry Carter died, but Cle “Bone” Sloan survived his injuries.
Kelly and Blankenship were allegedly aware the video was subject to a protective order that had been issued by a judge barring the release of any evidence in the case, according to Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich.
The two spent nearly a month brokering a deal with the celebrity website TMZ, according to a grand jury indictment.
Kelly allegedly reached a deal worth $55,000, and the video was posted on TMZ days later, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
But Kelly’s lawyers argue that the allegations against her do not constitute a public offense and the charges should be dismissed.
The protective order didn’t apply to Kelly and the court therefore lacks jurisdiction to prosecute her for violating it, defense attorney Dmitry Gorin argued in the filing. And “there was no theft of any kind” to obtain the videotape or to justify a charge of grand theft, according to the defense document.
Mrakich said he would need some time to review the filing and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Douglas Sortino said he would hear arguments on Oct. 23.
In the meantime, Kelly remains behind bars on a reduced bail of $500,000, cut from $2 million after an earlier hearing.
In response to a question by Sortino, Gorin said his client wasn’t seeking to post bond at this time.
Blankenship, who posted bond on $45,000 bail within hours of his arrest, is still awaiting arraignment.
If convicted as charged, the two could face up to three years behind bars.
Knight is awaiting trial in the murder case. He also has two other cases pending, including one in which he is charged with stealing a camera from a female paparazzo in September 2014 and another in which he is charged with threatening the director of the movie “Straight Outta Compton.”
–City News Service