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Lawyers Challenge Knight's Incarceration

July 10, 1998

Lawyers for rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight presented oral arguments Wednesday challenging his incarceration before the California Board of Appeals. Knight, who is serving nine years for a probation violation in the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, did not attend the hearing but was represented by Encino attorney David Kenner and Armand Arabian, a former state Supreme Court judge.

Knight, the owner of Death Row Records, was jailed in November 1996 for violating his probation by kicking a man during a scuffle at a Las Vegas hotel--an altercation that was captured on a hotel surveillance tape.

The 32-year-old entrepreneur had been on probation since 1995, when he entered no-contest pleas to two counts of assault stemming from a 1992 attack on two aspiring rappers in a Hollywood recording studio. Under a plea bargain in that case, a judge imposed a suspended nine-year prison term and five years' probation.

Arabian and Kenner argued that Knight should be released from prison because that plea agreement was invalid. Knight's lawyers contended that he signed the plea bargain based on false promises by the district attorney's office--including a pledge to reduce the case's two felony counts to misdemeanors, which is not allowed under state law.

The three-judge panel has 90 days to issue a written ruling on Knight's appeal.

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