The former defense attorney for rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight agreed to a plea deal that bans him from practicing law for life in California.
Matthew Fletcher, 57, entered a plea of guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed in an email to Law&Crime. Fletcher also agreed “to resign from the state bar and […] never seek reinstatement,” according to the DA’s office, which added that Fletcher would also be placed on probation for a length of time to be determined at his May 17 sentencing.
Prosecutors, in turn, agreed to drop charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and accessory after the fact relating to Fletcher’s alleged actions while defending Knight, as well as an unrelated perjury charge that stemmed from testimony he gave at a State Bar hearing while under oath. Fletcher had been facing 44 months in prison if convicted on all five counts.
This deal comes after a two-month trial and on the second day of jury deliberation in the case.
A grand jury indicted Fletcher back in 2018 following allegations that he bribed witnesses to lie about the fatal 2015 incident which led prosecutors to file charges of murder and attempted murder against his client.
The rap mogul eventually struck a deal with prosecutors in that case back in 2018, agreeing to enter a plea of no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for hitting Terry Carter and Cle “Bone” Sloan with his truck in a Compton parking lot. Unfortunately, Carter died from the injuries he sustained that day, and Knight is now serving 28 years behind bars.
The allegations against Fletcher were first presented in a Petition For A Court Inquiry Regarding Potential And/Or Actual Conflicts of Interest filed in 2017 by then-District Attorney Jackie Lacey. That filing stated:
The People hereby petition this Court to undertake an inquiry into possible conflicts
of interest for Fletcher, who is currently counsel of record for the [Knight]. As will be
shown below, each of these potential conflicts poses a direct threat to the fundamental
constitutional rights of the defendant, the integrity of the criminal justice system, and to the
validity of any resulting criminal conviction in this case.
Specifically, the People bring to the Court’s attention that investigators have gathered
evidence of possible witness tampering, bribery, conspiracy to violate a court order and
obstruction of justice on the part of attorney Fletcher in the case of People v. Marion “Suge”
The petition goes on to detail conversations between Fletcher and Knight. These conversations occurred after a judge granted a request from prosecutors for an Ex Parte Order regarding Knight’s calls and visits. A little over a month later, Fletcher could be heard discussing witnesses in a call intercepted by investigators. During that call with Knight, Fletcher allegedly spoke about paying off three witnesses to lie and say guns were present at the crime scene. One of the witnesses he allegedly spoke of bribing was the man that Knight allegedly hit with his car.
At the end of their conversation, Fletcher allegedly told Knight:
I’ve got motherfuckers out there now…I’m paying you
motherfuckers $100 an hour each…the first
person there is the one who gets the money. I’ll pay anything…if
we can get these three, this is heaven to me, if we can get the two
or three versions from the bikers on tape and we can get (recording
interrupts) we’re done. It’s going home time. Right? That’s a fair
motherfucking investment, you know, 20, 25 thousand dollars to
pay to these motherfuckers to get home? (chuckles) Shit. There
you go, boom, boom, boom.
According to the petition, the “motherfuckers” being referenced by Fletcher on that call were witnesses to the crime.
Fletcher also allegedly conspired with a police informant who had intentionally been placed on a transport bus with Knight. After the informant offered to help Knight, he got in contact with Fletcher, who allegedly said at one point during their conversation:
Now we’re at the point where him (Bone) and a couple of the other
cats out there, they need money… before you give them fucking money I said they
gotta give us something back… it’s just the way it fucking is… he’s gonna take care
of you, but you gotta take care of him… These cats sit there, and I get this shit set up
so to speak so they can come give their little rendition and then these motherfucker’s get
short on the money… “We can’t write checks”… This is Compton, we don’t write
Fletcher was then accused of stating this later in that conversation:
If this cats ready to come forward and say, “Look man, we had guns, that’s
what we had, you know we did whoopty whoop… I don’t care why he says it… If
he… If someone down the road says, “Oh, they gave us 50 racks” … Say okay, well
prove that shit … All I know is I got you on tape saying, you had the mother fucking
heat… That’s all we need… I said so… We got this group of people who you know,
they want to play, they want to play legal Eagle I guess…
This is just too obvious to me… These motherfuckers’ got a price,
let’s get that mother fucking price paid… Shit, I told Suge you can always make
some more money you can’t make any more freedom though
Fletcher eventually stepped down as Knight’s attorney before a grand jury decided to indict him in 2018. Fletcher briefly retained the counsel of celebrity criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos but represented himself at trial.
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