Two lawyers who once represented Marion “Suge” Knight in his murder case have been indicted on conspiracy charges to bribe potential witnesses and circumvent the justice system in hopes of freeing their one-time client, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
A grand jury returned the indictment against Matthew Fletcher, 53, and Thaddeus Culpepper, 44, on Jan. 24 for one count each of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit subornation of perjury, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact.
Culpepper also faces two other conspiracy charges, while Fletcher is charged with one additional count of perjury. The indictment was unsealed today. Arraignment is scheduled for March 16 in Department 100 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich of the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case.
Knight, 52, is awaiting trial for allegedly killing 55-year-old Terry Carter and injuring Cle “Bone” Sloan who he hit with his truck in a Compton parking lot on Jan. 29, 2015. He also has pending robbery and criminal threats cases.
In the weeks following Knight’s arrest, Fletcher is accused of trying to pay off people who could provide favorable testimony at trial. In one instance, Fletcher allegedly told Knight it would take about $20,000 to $25,000 to secure his freedom, according to the indictment.
Fletcher also allegedly told Knight that Sloan, the surviving victim, should be paid off for his testimony.
In 2016, a confidential informant allegedly told Culpepper he would be willing to testify that he saw weapons at the murder scene, even though the informant wasn’t there when the crime occurred, the indictment said. Culpepper and Knight allegedly agreed to use the informant as a defense witness at trial.
Culpepper also is charged with violating a court order that restricted Knight’s phone privileges and prohibited phone calls where three people could talk to one another.
If convicted as charged, Fletcher and Culpepper face a possible maximum sentence of three years and eight months in jail.
The defendants are the latest Knight associates to face criminal charges in Los Angeles County.
In October, Knight’s girlfriend pleaded no contest to violating a court order by selling video evidence that was under seal. Last month, a judge sentenced her to three years in jail for violating her probation.
Knight’s business partner, Mark Blankenship, faces one felony count each of conspiracy to violate a court order, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to commit grand theft. A pretrial hearing is set for March 12.