Prosecutor: Rap mogul's girlfriend sold video to TMZ
By MICHAEL BALSAMO
Sep. 14, 2017
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight's girlfriend and a business partner have been charged with violating a court order by selling a video showing Knight running his truck into two men to celebrity news website TMZ for $55,000, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Knight's girlfriend, Toilin Kelly, and Mark Blankenship were each charged with conspiracy to violate a court order, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to commit grand theft, Los Angeles County prosecutors said.
Kelly pleaded not guilty Wednesday; Blankenship has not yet been arraigned.
Knight, a co-founder of Death Row Records, was arrested in 2015 after authorities said he ran over the two men outside of a burger stand in Compton.
He has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges and is awaiting trial. His lawyers have said he acted in self-defense and was fleeing armed attackers.
A judge issued a protective order in the case, which barred all evidence, including the video, from being released publicly.
About two weeks after the incident, Kelly and Blankenship began arranging the sale of the surveillance video to TMZ, prosecutors said.
"'I can't wait to get this video to you,'" Kelly said in a text message to a TMZ representative, according to court documents.
After nearly a month, they settled for $55,000 and the video was posted on TMZ's website several days later, the district attorney's office said.
Kelly's attorney, Alan Eisner, said his client is presumed innocent and has faith that the justice system will exonerate her.
Kelly, a business school graduate, looks forward to having her defense presented in court, he said.
Authorities said a warrant has been issued for Blankenship's arrest and it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment.
TMZ is not accused of any wrongdoing for purchasing the video. A representative for the celebrity news site did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Associated Press writer Brian Melley contributed to this report.
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