LOS ANGELES >> Marion “Suge” Knight lost another defense lawyer — his 15th — today and the three-year wait for his murder trial to start will grow even longer.
Judge Ronald S. Coen released attorney Dominique Banos, citing a conflict of interest.
Banos said outside court that she had told the judge she believes she is a target in the witness-tampering investigation that led to the indictment and removal of two of Knight’s lawyers. She denied any wrongdoing and said she regretted leaving a case she felt was winnable.
The moment Coen finished announcing the dismissal, Knight launched into an animated, minutes-long monologue denouncing prosecutors and jail officials, saying their investigations and the limitations put on his visitors and phone calls have forced him to blow through attorneys and settle for bad ones.
“All this stuff’s a way-out, crazy situation,” said Knight, 52, as he sat in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and chains. “I should be able to spend my money the way I want it.”
“These attorneys,” Knight went on, getting angrier, “nobody in the world would use these attorneys for a jaywalking ticket!”
Coen, who has warned Knight to let his attorneys do the talking in court, finally intervened and said, “You need to take a deep breath, Mr. Knight.”
The judge appointed a 16th attorney, Robert DeBlanc, who Knight reluctantly accepted on an interim basis. Knight said he has already privately hired yet another lawyer, without giving his name.
The Death Row Records co-founder has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder for running over two men outside a Compton burger stand in 2015.
Banos was also released as Knight’s attorney in a hearing that immediately followed on an unrelated robbery case where he has also struggled to keep attorneys.
“This must feel like deja vu,” said Judge Craig Richman.
“It does,” Knight said with a laugh. “It does.”
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