Marion “Suge” Knight is facing criminal charges in Las Vegas, stemming from an incident in which police found the hip hop mogul allegedly beating his girlfriend just off a busy thoroughfare.
Knight is charged with two counts of felony drug possession and one count of misdemeanor battery, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Las Vegas Justice Court.
The complaint filed by the Clark County district attorney’s office accuses Knight of striking a woman identified as Melissa Isaac. Police say they arrested Knight in August after they saw the founder of bankrupt Death Row Records beating the woman while brandishing a knife in a parking lot near the Las Vegas Strip.
Authorities said the woman wasn’t stabbed, but was treated at a hospital for injuries. The complaint says Knight was carrying Ecstasy and hydrocodone when they arrested him. Knight was later released after posting $19,000 bail.
Defense attorney Richard Schonfeld said Knight planned to enter a not guilty plea at his arraignment Dec. 16.
“We’re going to vigorously defend him against these charges,” Schonfeld said.
Knight could face mandatory probation and up to four years in a Nevada state prison on each of the drug charges. He could be sentenced to up to six months in jail on the battery charge.
Knight’s Death Row Records was known for releasing seminal gangster rap albums by Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. It sold tens of millions of albums in the heyday of early 1990s rap.
In 2006, a federal judge ordered a bankruptcy trustee takeover of Death Row Records, saying the label had undergone gross mismanagement. Knight’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection staved off a move by the court to appoint someone to take control of the record label and his assets.
The record company was auctioned in June for $24 million to New York-based Global Music Group Inc.