LOS ANGELES (CN) - Chained into a safety chair and wheeled into the courtroom for a hearing today on robbery charges, Suge Knight made his complaints about his treatment known.
After his dramatic collapse in the Compton courthouse last month, the 49-year-old former CEO of Death Row Records was at the courthouse Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on robbery charges.
Knight complained, however, that being forced to sit in the safety chair was making "the situation worse" and that he was capable of walking into the courtroom without assistance.
His attorney Matt Fletcher said outside the courtroom that placing Knight in the chair was "designed to humiliate him" and that his client has no trouble walking.
"They bought him in like 'Silence of the Lambs,'" Fletcher said. "They knew the photographers were going to be here, so they're making him look like a fool."
Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen was more concerned about who is representing Knight, after he reportedly fired his attorney David Kenner at a March hearing. Fletcher was with Knight at the morning hearing, though it was not immediately clear who was representing the former rap mogul.
"Either you want to keep Kenner or fire Kenner," Coen said. "That's all I need to know right now."
After some back and forth and conferring with Fletcher, Knight said: "Kenner is fired."
Coen continued a preliminary hearing on the robbery charges to May 27 so that Knight can get a new attorney.
Knight, wearing glasses and dressed in an orange prison uniform, asked if he could represent himself.
"No, but thanks for asking," Coen said.
Knight's attorney complained about this move after the hearing. "Everyone has a right to represent themselves, and I've never seen that denied," Fletcher said. "I've also never seen a case where you can't have an investigator visit him, or the lawyers visit him or experts either. It's a pretty extraordinary case."
When asked why Knight had not asked Fletcher to represent him in the robbery case, Fletcher said that he handled murders and that the robbery is not a "serious case."
"I think it's kind of a joke, legally," Fletcher continued. "I'm doing the murder right now. I may eventually do the other case."
Facing life in prison on a murder charge, the former rap mogul appeared at the criminal court in downtown Los Angeles on charges that he and comedian Micah "Katt" Williams stole a photographer's camera outside a Beverly Hills studio on Sept. 5 last year.
Prosecutors have also accused Knight of making a terroristic threat.
In February, Knight pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder, and hit-and-run charges. Fletcher is representing Knight in that case.
The charges against Knight allege that he ran over two men with his pickup in the parking lot of a restaurant on Jan. 29, near a set for a commercial for the movie "Straight Outta Compton," about rap group N.W.A.
Knight is accused of killing his longtime friend Terry Carter, 55, and critically injuring film technician Cle Denyale "Bone" Sloan, 51, after an argument related to the filming of the "Straight Outta Compton" spot.
Last month, Knight collapsed in court after a judge set bail at $25 million in his murder case. He was reportedly transported to hospital two times in February after court appearances.
Knight was at the center of a feud between West Coast and East Coast rappers in the mid-1990s. He was driving the car carrying rapper Tupac Shakur when the latter was shot in a fatal drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996.
Though Knight appeared to be in good health at the hearing, Fletcher said his client may have had a partial stroke about two weeks ago. Knight had been taken down to the county hospital for treatment, he said.
"They tried to give him an MRI but he couldn't have one because, in the incident in which Tupac was killed, he was shot in the head," Fletcher said. "So, he has a slug in his head. So, he can't take an MRI. And he was hesitant and refused to take the MRI because of that."
Knight has previously spent four years in prison for violating probation for assault and weapons offenses.
In August last year, Knight was shot six times at a Video Music Awards party in Hollywood hosted by R&B singer Chris Brown.
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