Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who’s accused of running down two men in Compton and killing one of them, informed a judge Wednesday that he has fired one of his attorneys and asked to represent himself for the next several weeks.
Knight did not offer any reason for the request, which was denied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen.
Attorney David Kenner, who was not in the courtroom, is off the case. Knight retained Matthew Fletcher as his attorney of record and has until the end of May to add to his defense team.
Coen set a May 27 preliminary hearing-setting date.
Knight, who collapsed in court at his last hearing on March 20, was brought into the courtroom this morning in a wheelchair. But he told the judge that he doesn’t need it any longer, and bailiffs cleared the courtroom to remove the chair.
The court session was uneventful compared to the previous one, when the 49-year-old defendant knocked his head on a chair and fell unconscious, marking at least the third time he was hospitalized following a court hearing.
Knight’s collapse last month came within minutes after a hearing in which Coen agreed to the prosecution’s request to set bail at $25 million. Knight had been held without bail since Feb. 2, shortly before being charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder and two counts of hit-and-run resulting in death or serious injury to another person.
At the time of his arrest Jan. 30 in connection with the crash a day earlier, he had been free on $500,000 bail in a separate case in which he and comedian Micah “Katt” Williams were charged with robbery for allegedly stealing a camera Sept. 5 from a paparazzo in Beverly Hills.
Knight is charged in the death of 55-year-old Terry Carter. He’s also charged with the attempted murder of Cle “Bone” Sloan, who survived being struck at 2:55 p.m. Jan. 29 in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue near Central Avenue.
Knight’s attorney contends that his client was attacked “in broad daylight” after being lured to the parking lot and that his client had a right to act in self-defense to try to get away from his assailants.
The prosecutor told the judge last month that Knight has been convicted of crimes in California and Nevada, along with federal court, and that he was on bail in the robbery case at the time of Carter’s death.
Knight, a Compton native and former football player, co-founded Death Row Records, which in its heyday in the early 1990s generated revenues of up to $100 million per year.
He helped launch some of rap’s biggest acts, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur. Knight was with Shakur when the rapper was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996.