Former Suge Knight attorney agrees plea deal over conspiracy to pay off a witness in hip hop mogul’s murder case

A lawyer who previously represented Death Row Records founder Suge Knight when he was fighting murder charges, relating to a 2015 incident that began on the set of NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’, has reached a plea deal in relation to allegations he paid off a witness linked to Knight’s case.

Under the deal Matthew Fletcher has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of perjury, and agreed to stop practicing law in California for life, all in a bid to avoid jail time.

Knight was accused of murder in relation to the death of a man called Terry Carter in 2015. The incident that led to Carter’s death began on the set of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ when Knight showed up to complain about his portrayal in the movie which, among other things, covered his involvement in the rise and decline of NWA.

His initial run-in on the biopic’s set was with another man called Cle Sloan. That altercation then moved to a nearby burger bar car park where Sloan was joined by Carter. Knight ultimately got into his car, ran over both men and drove away. Carter later died as a result of his injuries.

Knight eventually reached his own plea deal in relation to Carter’s death, pleading guilty to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Along the way, two lawyers working for Knight as his murder case went through the motions were charged over alleged misconduct. Fletcher was accused of paying off a witness who could provide favourable testimony for his client, while another attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper, was accused of agreeing with one confidential informant that he would provide false testimony.

Both were aiming to back up Knight’s claim that he was acting in self defence during the 2015 altercation with Carter and Sloan.

The allegations against Fletcher recently reached court in LA and the jury who heard the case was deliberating as the attorney reached his own plea deal. Under that deal he avoids jail time, but faces five years of informal probation. He has also agreed to resign as a licensed attorney in California for life.

However, a lawyer for Fletcher has claimed that he was unfairly forced into the deal. Alexandra Kazarian told Law360: “It was obvious from the moment that [the judge] forced us to trial over our objection, in the middle of a COVID-19 trial shutdown, and right before Christmas, that he had every intention of facilitating a conviction and sentencing Matt to prison”.

Dubbing the outcome of the case a “travesty of justice”, she added: “It’s no shock that Matt was so disgusted with the entire process that he gladly gave up his licence”. Fletcher will now be formally sentenced on 17 May.