Two attorneys who previously represented former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight during his pending murder case were indicted on charges of conspiring to bribe potential witnesses and obstruct justice, prosecutors announced Monday.
A grand jury returned an indictment against Matthew Fletcher, 53, and Thaddeus Culpepper, 44, on Jan. 24, charging both with 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, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Culpepper also faces two other conspiracy counts and a charge that he violated a court order that restricted Knight's phone privileges and prohibited phone calls with three people on the line. Fletcher is charged with one additional count of perjury.
If convicted as charged, Fletcher and Culpepper face a possible maximum sentence of three years and eight months in jail. They are set to be arraigned March 16 in downtown Los Angeles.
A day after the indictment was filed, Fletcher and Culpepper were arrested on suspicion of acting as "accessories after the fact," but both were released the following day.
At that time, a sheriff's spokesman cited the complexities of the case and said the District Attorney's Office was undertaking a further review of the case.
Knight, 52, is charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run for using a pickup truck to allegedly run down 55-year-old Terry Carter and Cle "Bone" Sloan in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue on Jan. 29, 2015.
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Carter died and Sloan survived his injuries. Prosecutors said that in the weeks following Knight's arrest, Fletcher tried to pay off potential witnesses. In one instance, he 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, according to the indictment.
Culpepper and Knight allegedly agreed to use that informant as a defense witness at trial. Both attorneys have denied any wrongdoing. In separate cases, Knight is accused of robbery and threatening "Straight Outta Compton" director F. Gary Gray.
An August filing by the District Attorney's Office, which initially raised the question of a conspiracy by the attorneys, asked the court to conduct an inquiry into whether Fletcher had a conflict of interest in representing Knight against the threat charges involving Gray. Culpepper and Fletcher are the latest Knight associates to face criminal charges.
In October, Knight's fiancee, Toi-Lin Kelly, pleaded no contest to violating a court order by selling video evidence that was under seal. She was sentenced to three years in jail. 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.