Suge Knight has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Dre alleging that the rapper-producer hired a hit man to kill him. The former Death Row Records exec claims that Dre had contracted the man who shot him seven times at Chris Brown’s pre-VMA party in the summer of 2014. He says the L.A. County Sherriff’s Department questioned a man, identified as “Damian” or “T-Money,” who said Dre paid him for the attempted hit; Knight laments in the suit that despite this and 37 cameras in the nightclub where the shooting took place, no arrests were made. He is seeking unspecified damages, punitive and otherwise, for that and a few other claims.
Elsewhere in the lawsuit, Knight alleges Dre and Universal, who released Straight Outta Compton, paid a man $300,000 to finish the hit in January 2015. The man, Cle “Bone” Sloan, admitted to punching Knight during an altercation in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in Compton before the exec drove away injuring Sloan and killing another man, Terry Carter.
“The lawsuit gives the proper motivation or at least explains what happened to Suge in the past year and a half,” Knight’s lawyer, Thaddeus Culpepper, tells Rolling Stone. “It sets the table for real discussion as to why he would just run people over. If the idea is that he was just a crazy man and ran some people because he’s Suge Knight, no, there was a reason and we think we set it out pretty well.”
“Given that Dre has had zero interaction with Suge since leaving Death Row Records in 1996, we hope that Suge’s lawyer has lots of malicious prosecution insurance,” a lawyer for Dr. Dre tells Rolling Stone.
Carter, the lawsuit says, had told Knight that Dre and Ice Cube wanted to discuss paying him for using his likeness in the movie. The lawsuit claims that Universal and Dre had paid Sloan and another man, Dwayne “Knob” Johnson, to serve as “technical advisors” on the movie – it claims Knight can prove a $20,000 check was written to Johnson, an amount it alleges is out of proportion with union scale.
Knight, who was charged with Carter’s murder and is awaiting trial, has pleaded not guilty.
He also claims to be entitled to 30 percent of Dr. Dre’s earnings for life as part of a lifetime management deal (including $300 million he claims he’s owed as a result of Beats Music’s sale to Apple). The suit also alleges that Dre’s many delays of his Detox record were a tactic to avoid paying Knight.
Because Apple and Universal were aware of the contract provision, the lawsuit claims, they did not want to do business with Knight. (Apple is named as a defendant in the new suit.) It goes on to say, “Universal, Apple and Young developed a mutually agreeable scheme that would result either in Knight relinquishing his rights under the management contract or Young gaining the appearance of legal separation from Knight and the management contract through bankruptcy filings.” Moreover, it claims that when Sloan was hired, “Universal, through the production of the film, provided [Dre] with capital, employees and the staging area through which to intimidate Knight and to ensure that Knight relinquished his right in the management contract payouts.”
“Knight is at an extreme disadvantage in defend[ing] himself or prosecuting his claims herein because portions of the evidence that would help Knight prove his claims are sealed by protective order,” it claims.