LOS ANGELES (CN) - There is sufficient evidence to support charges that former rap impresario Suge Knight stole a paparazzo's camera outside a Beverly Hills studio, a judge has ruled.
Facing life in prison on an unrelated murder charge, Knight, 50, appeared at the criminal court in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday morning to challenge claims that he and comedian Micah "Katt" Williams, 44, stole Kat Redden's camera outside a Beverly Hills studio on Sept. 5, 2014.
County prosecutors charged Knight and Williams, who was also in court, after Beverly Hills Police Department investigators reviewed surveillance video that appeared to show a woman following Redden down the street, followed by Williams, Knight and a group of men.
According to the testimony of Detective Mark Schwartz, Williams appeared in footage of an intersection between Canon and Brighton Way carrying an object that appeared to be a camera.
Schwartz also testified that evidence showed that Knight, who the court heard was with his young son at the time, called Redden a "bitch" and told those with him to get her "shit." That persuaded investigators that Knight was a co-conspirator in the robbery, Schwartz said.
Redden said on the stand that the alleged female assailant, who was dressed in a white and black outfit, attacked her in an alleyway. The alleged attack occurred after Redden had encountered Knight and Williams outside Alki David's FilmOn studios in Beverly Hills, the court heard.
Dressed in a purple outfit, Redden testified that she was not filming Knight's son and was wearing the camera on her chest. She said the camera was filming during her encounter with Knight for "safety reasons" and likened it to a police dash camera.
More than once, Redden objected to Knight's attorney's characterization of the incident with the woman as an "altercation," calling it an "attack." She said that she had not fought back against the woman.
Knight's attorney Thomas Mesereau told the judge that the evidence did not support robbery, aiding and abetting, or criminal threats.
The attorney argued that Knight was only worried about protecting his young son and that the utterances he had made before the alleged robbery did not rise to the level of criminal threats.
"He just didn't want his son photographed and that was why he was upset," Mesereau said, adding later: "Mr. Knight was mad. It's pretty understandable."
Mesereau said that Knight was rightly worried that Redden was putting his son in danger and noted that video of the child eventually ended up on YouTube.
William's attorney Shawn Holley said her client's involvement was "brief" and "fleeting" and that he had only taken the camera after someone handed it to him.
She said that Williams had no intention of keeping the camera and that Knight and Williams only wanted to delete the digital files on it.
But Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen ruled that there is sufficient evidence to support the charges against Knight and Williams. Coen ordered the parties back to court for an Oct. 27 for a rearraignment hearing.
He also continued a pretrial hearing on Knight's murder case to Dec. 11.
Outside the courtroom, Mesereau said he was disappointed by the court's decision.
"We have no doubt he'll be vindicated at trial," Mesereau said
Knight, whose real name is Marion Hugh Knight Jr., is also accused of murdering his friend Terry Carter, 55, and critically injuring a movie coordinator, Cle Denyale "Bone" Sloan, who had worked on the movie "Straight Outta Compton."
The incident allegedly occurred after Knight showed up uninvited to a promotional shoot for the film.
Hip hop legends Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were in the area filming a promo for the summer box office hit, a fictional biopic about their gangster rap group N.W.A. The movie also features an unflattering portrayal of Knight.
Prosecutors say Knight ran over the two men with his pickup in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers on Jan. 29, after an altercation with Sloan.
The former Death Row Records CEO has pleaded not guilty to charges in both the robbery and murder case.
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