An attorney who was indicted on witness-tampering charges was dismissed Monday from the murder case of rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Knight previously gave up his right to having a lawyer without potential conflicts of interest so he could keep Thaddeus Culpepper on his defense team. That decision came last month when Culpepper was under investigation but had not yet been indicted. Los Angeles County Judge Ronald S. Coen overrode Knight’s decision and removed Culpepper.
Knight, 52, the co-founder of Death Row Records, has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder after he ran over two men outside a Compton burger stand in January 2015. The move could mean more delays in a trial tentatively set to start April 9. Culpepper and another former Knight attorney, Matthew Fletcher, were both indicted a week ago on charges of conspiring to influence potential witnesses in Knight’s murder case. Both have denied any wrongdoing.
The indictment accused Culpepper of arranging with a potential witness, who turned out to be a confidential informant, to provide false testimony at trial — saying he saw weapons at the crime scene. That could bolster defense claims that Knight acted in self-defense. Culpepper said he committed no crimes and was doing his job as Knight’s defense attorney and looks forward to exonerating himself.
This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.