Suge Knight claims in lawsuit Dr. Dre hired hitman to kill him

The longstanding feud between rap moguls Dr. Dre and accused killer Marion "Suge" Knight has taken yet another convoluted turn in a notoriously twisty tale that involves an alleged murder, shootouts, alleged hitmen, a contract dispute and millions in Apple profits.

In the latest development, Knight, currently in jail in Los Angeles awaiting trial in February on hit-and-run murder and attempted murder charges, filed suit against Dre last week, asserting that Dre twice hired a hitman to kill him, first in August 2014 at a nightclub and again in Compton in January 2015, according to his attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper.

Knight claims it was fear of these alleged hitmen that caused Knight to run over two men, killing one and injuring the other, in Compton near the set of the Dre-produced film, Straight Outta Compton.

Knight is suing Dre on various grounds, including contract interference, negligence, assault and battery, premises liability and "vicarious responsibility."

"Dr. Dre did it," his lawsuit says. "Andre Young (Dre's real name) is responsible for both crimes."

A representative of Dr. Dre could not be reached for comment.

In part, Culpepper acknowledges, the civil suit Knight filed against Dre is intended to help build a self-defense case for Knight, who is charged with killing Terry Carter, 55, and injuring Cle "Bone" Sloan, 51, with his pickup truck at a burger joint in Compton.

Under Knight's theory of the case, he was only trying to escape armed men he believed had been hired to kill him, even though he has not raised the issue of self-defense in the dozens of hearings over the last 20 months in the case since Knight was arrested.

"He didn’t know all the facts at that time, but he did tell (Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies) that on the first night," says Culpepper (who also represented Knight in an unrelated robbery case against Knight involving a paparazzo and his camera).

Now, Culpepper says, Knight and his defense team believe they have proof that the men who surrounded his pickup that night were hired to kill him by Dre: Culpepper says the Knight defense team has interviewed eyewitnesses to the encounter and believes there are checks, for as much as $300,000 down to $20,000, linking Dre and the two victims in the hit-and-run case.

Culpepper says the other purpose of the Knight lawsuit against Dre is to restore a management contract between the two music moguls, which called for Knight to get 30 percent of Dre's earnings. When Dre sold his headphones company, Beats by Dre, to Apple in 2014 for $3 billion, Knight was cut out of the deal.

Knight was displeased, says Culpepper, and asserted his rights under the management contract. Thus, according to Culpepper, Dre had a motive to get rid of Knight by hiring a hitman to kill him at a nightclub.

"(Dre) took to street tactics," Culpepper says. "After May 2014, Suge Knight's life starts to be in jeopardy. He was shot seven times at 1 Oak nightclub in August 2014, and then in January this (Compton encounter) happens."

A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for Thursday on whether or not Knight can get access to Dre's bank records, Culpepper said.

This isn't the first lawsuit Knight, a two-time convicted felon, has filed from jail. In June, he sued Chris Brown and the owners of 1 Oak in West Hollywood, asserting they failed to have adequate security and allowed at least one armed person into the venue during a party hosted by Brown.

Knight survived gunshot wounds to the abdomen, chest and left forearm from the shootings that night. The Death Row Records co-founder has cited medical complications from those injuries as reasons for his hospitalizations and for postponing some of his court appearances on the Compton murder charges.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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