LOS ANGELES (AP) — Newly released video graphically depicts former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight running over two men with his pickup truck but leaves questions about an attack that he says forced him to speed away from the deadly crash.
Surveillance footage from a Compton fast food restaurant shows one of the men getting knocked down as the pickup reverses. The truck then speeds forward, running over the fallen man and a second man.
An attorney for the Death Row Records co-founder says the video posted by celebrity news website TMZ shows that the men attacked his client before the January encounter and that it will help his defense against murder and attempted murder charges.
"They attacked 'Suge' without question," lawyer Matthew Fletcher told reporters after a Monday court hearing.
The video is in possession of sheriff's detectives and is being used in the investigation, Los Angeles sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. The agency did not release the footage.
Gary Dordick, an attorney for the family of the slain man, Terry Carter, said the video shows "a senseless act of violence." He said Carter, 55, was not involved in attacking Knight through the window of his truck and that the music figure should have driven off instead of using his truck as a weapon.
The video shows a red pickup pulling into the restaurant parking lot and a man approaching the driver's side window. There is commotion in the cabin of Knight's truck, but no clear footage of the purported attack.
"I told 'Suge': 'This helps you beyond any stretch of the imagination,'" Fletcher said, adding that the law doesn't require someone to flee an attack.
The confrontation occurred shortly after Knight was told to leave a location where a promotional video was being shot for "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic about the rap group N.W.A. Authorities said the argument resumed at the parking lot.
Fletcher downplayed the argument at the video shoot, saying Knight complied when he was asked to leave the set.
Authorities accuse Knight of intentionally running over the men, killing Carter and seriously injuring Cle "Bone" Sloan. He has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges and could face up to life in prison if convicted of killing Carter on Jan. 29.
"The video makes clear that Mr. Carter's tragic death was caused by unnecessary acts of violence initiated by Cle Sloan attacking Mr. Knight and Mr. Knight choosing to retaliate using his motor vehicle as a deadly weapon rather than simply driving off to a place of safety," Dordick wrote in an email.
Carter was a friend of Knight, and authorities have said they do not believe he was involved in the attack. Sloan is an actor and film consultant.
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.
Knight, 49, did not speak at Monday's brief hearing, which came a week after he was taken to a hospital from a previous court appearance, where he told a judge he was going blind and had fired his legal team.
Knight is scheduled to return to court March 20.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP