Marion “Suge” Knight’s murder trial has hit another snag. On Friday (March 23), Judge Ronald S. Coen released attorney Dominique Banos, citing a conflict interest.
According to the Associated Press, Judge Coen stated to the court that Banos is being targeted in a witness tampering case involving Knight’s two previously dismissed lawyers.
Knight is on trial for murder and attempted murder after running over Terry Carter and Cle “Bone” Sloan with his truck in the parking lot a Compton restaurant in 2015. Knight, who has pleaded not guilty in the case, claims he was acting in self-defense and alleges that Dr. Dre had a $20,000 bounty to have him killed.
According to AP, after Coen finished announcing the dismissal, Knight launched into an animated, minutes-long monologue denouncing prosecutors and jail ficials, saying their investigations and the limitations put on his visitors and phone calls have forced him to blow through attorneys and settle for bad ones.
“All this stuff’s a way-out, crazy situation,” he told the court. “I should be able to spend my money the way I want it.”
“These attorneys, nobody in the world would use these attorneys for a jaywalking ticket!” he added.
Judge Coen appointed a 16th attorney, Robert DeBlanc, much to Knight's chagrin. The former rap mogul told the judge that he already hired another attorney, without giving his name.
After three years, the case has delivered more twists and turns than a pretzel. In February, Knight’s fiancée, Toi-Lin Kelly, was sentenced to three years in jail for violating a court order by arranging jailhouse phone calls for Knight with producers a BET documentary about Death Row Records, a label he founded in 1988.
Last year, Toi-Lin Kelly was indicted by a grand jury for selling the hit-and-run video to TMZ for $55,000. A Los Angeles judge sentenced Ms. Kelly to 100 hours community service and serve five years on probation.
Coen scrapped an April 9 trial date and scheduled another hearing in May.