LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Marion "Suge" Knight's lawyer argues that a murder case against the former rap music mogul should be dismissed because one of the men he allegedly ran over earlier this year didn't identify him in court.
Attorney Matt Fletcher contends in a motion filed before a hearing Friday that murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges filed against the Death Row Records co-founder should be thrown out based on the testimony of a man seriously injured in January. Knight has pleaded not guilty to running over Cle "Bone" Sloan and another man who died from his injuries.
Sloan refused to identify Knight while testifying during a preliminary hearing last month, but gave detectives a lucid account after being struck by Knight's pickup and said he started a fight in the parking lot of a Compton burger stand in late January.
A response filed by prosecutor Cynthia Barnes points to Sloan's statements to detectives and other evidence to support their case, including Knight's unique nickname, "Suge."
Fletcher contends that is not enough.
"There is nowhere in this transcript that Mr. Sloan ever identifies Marion Knight, the defendant, as a murderer," Fletcher wrote. "There is nowhere in the entire transcript that Mr. Sloan even identifies Marion Knight as a driver of the red truck in question; the red truck that hit the victims."
The 50-year-old Knight is charged with running over the two men outside a Compton burger stand. Fletcher has said his client was fleeing an ambush. A trial in the case has been scheduled for July 7.
Knight is also scheduled for a hearing in a separate robbery case that a judge delayed. The former rap mogul told police he was too sick to come to court, but Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen said he would order Knight forcibly brought to court on Friday if necessary.
"No one refuses to come to my court," Coen said Wednesday.
Knight fired the attorneys handling his robbery case at an earlier hearing and has not yet hired a new lawyer. Coen said he would appoint an attorney for Knight in the case on Friday if necessary.
Knight was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists.
Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy. He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP