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House Arrest for Rap Lawyer

Justice: Attorney for 'Suge' Knight of Death Row Records didn't file a 1995 tax return. He has paid restitution, and must pay court costs.


A federal judge sentenced the former attorney for rap impresario Marion "Suge" Knight to three years of probation on a misdemeanor tax charge stemming from a broad investigation into the alleged criminal activities of Knight's music label, Death Row Records.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Encino lawyer David Kenner, 61, was ordered Monday by U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper to spend nine months under house arrest for not filing a tax return in 1995.

Kenner, whose attorney said he is now bankrupt and has cancer, has paid $20,000 in restitution and will be required to pay an additional $1,500 in court costs.

More than 50 of Kenner's colleagues wrote letters to the court on his behalf. "I rarely get to read so many letters by people I know," Cooper said.

Kenner's tax charge was the second criminal prosecution from a federal racketeering probe of Death Row that began seven years ago by the FBI, other federal agencies and the Los Angeles Police Department.

"I'm just glad this is over," Kenner said as he left the courtroom.

Following the killings of Death Row artist Tupac Shakur and Bad Boy's Notorious B.I.G., federal authorities began investigating accusations that Death Row and Knight were involved in murder, drug trafficking, money laundering and gun running.

In January, the Los Angeles-based gangsta rap label was also charged with failing to file a 1995 federal tax return. No charges have been filed against Knight.

The tax charges aside, Knight, Kenner and the record company face civil suits from former Death Row artists and employees for claims ranging from fraud to failure to pay royalties.

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