Suge Knight’s business partner pleaded no contest for conspiring to violate a court order by selling video evidence that was under seal in the rap mogul’s murder trial.
Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich said Mark Blankenship, 58, entered the plea to one felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Blankenship was immediately sentenced to five years of formal probation and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution to Tam’s Burgers.
His codefendant, Toilin Kelly, 38, pleaded no contest on Oct. 12, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to violate a court order. She was placed on formal probation for five years, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and also pay $55,000 in restitution to Tam’s Burgers.
Blankenship and Kelly arranged the sale of the video of a fatal hit-and-run involving Marion “Suge” Knight about two weeks after the Jan. 29, 2015 incident.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Ocampo had prohibited the release of any evidence in Knight’s murder case, including the video, from being released to the public.
The two defendants spent nearly a month negotiating a deal with TMZ, a celebrity news website, the prosecutor said. Blankenship and Kelly knew the video was under a protective order.
They reached a deal worth $55,000 and TMZ posted the video on its site days later.
On Oct. 4, 2018, Knight was sentenced to 28 years in state prison after pleading no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter and admitting a special allegation that he used a deadly weapon, a truck.
The charge stemmed from a Jan. 29, 2015 incident in which Knight ran over two men following an altercation outside of Tam’s. Terry Carter, 55, was killed and the other man was injured.