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'Suge' Knight Link Is Alleged

Rap producer denies involvement in an attack on former partner at the Vibe music awards show that left the assailant seriously injured.

December 01, 2004|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

Police are investigating allegations that rap producer Marion "Suge" Knight was involved in an assault on onetime partner Dr. Dre, law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

Knight has denied any involvement in the incident in which a man struck Dre twice at the Vibe Awards show at Santa Monica airport, triggering a melee in which the attacker was stabbed and seriously injured.

Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, met with officials late Monday at the Santa Monica police station.

He demanded that his alleged attacker, Jimmy "James" Johnson, be charged with assault and battery.

Johnson was captured on camera punching Dre at the second annual awards show on Nov. 16. Johnson was then stabbed, allegedly by a protege of Dr. Dre.

That rapper, known as Young Buck, then surrendered to authorities.

Knight had entered the event without an invitation and ended up sitting just a few feet behind Dre, who was receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Attorney Milton Grimes, who once represented Knight and now represents Johnson, also denied the allegations.

"As far as I know, my client has no ties whatsoever to Suge Knight," Grimes said.

Knight and Dre co-founded Death Row Records in the early 1990s, generating hundreds of millions of dollars with hits by such stars as Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

But the two had a falling out in the mid-1990s and went their separate ways.

After Knight was released from prison in 2001 after serving time for assault and weapons violations, the conditions of his parole banned him from having any contact with his former partner.

Santa Monica police and agents from the state Department of Corrections have been reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses regarding Knight's actions before, during and after the event, sources said.

"We are conducting an investigation to determine whether any parole violations took place with [Knight] at the awards show," said Alfred Martinez, Los Angeles regional parole administrator for the Corrections Department.

"Mr. Knight has some special conditions attached to his parole, and we are working with the Santa Monica police to evaluate all the circumstances that took place that evening," Martinez said.

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