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The survivor of a hit-and-run allegedly perpetrated by Marion "Suge" Knight refused to implicate the hip-hop mogul in a pretrial hearing. Cle "Bone" Sloan was uncooperative with prosecutors' questions about the incident, saying, "I don't want it to get misconstrued that I told on this man," while pointing at Knight.
Sloan continued, "I'm no snitch. I will not be used to send Suge Knight to prison."
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It's difficult to tell what Suge Knight is most famous for at this point. As co-founder of the once-titanic production company Death Row Records? As the man who allegedly dangled Vanilla Ice off a 15th-story balcony to secure royalties and funds to start Death Row? As someone who fueled the East Coast-West Coast rap feud that led to the murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace?
The list of legal incidents in which Knight has been involved is too long for this space. It suffices to say that if a snitch were ever to be worried about fulfilling the popular adage and getting stitches, it would be for testifying against this man.
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The purported snitch in this case is no stranger to the streets himself. Sloan is a former gang member turned filmmaker and activist, who went from the Athens Park Bloods in Los Angeles to starring in movies like "Training Day."
At the time of the hit-and-run, Sloan was in Compton working on the NWA biopic "Straight Outta Compton," reportedly as a facilitator between the movie's producers and local gangs. According to Sloan's statement to officers after the incident, in which another record label founder, Terry Carter, was killed, Sloan confronted Knight about Knight's presence on the set and punched him in the face.
Prosecutors allege this sparked a fight that resulted in Knight running both Sloan and Carter over with his SUV. Sloan, however, refused to identify Knight as the driver, or even confirm that he witnessed Knight at that location. Even the judge noted his belief that Sloan was being deceptive.
Obviously, non-cooperation hurts a criminal case, but what do courts and prosecutors do with a witness that recants his story? It may depend on whether the witness decides to show up to trial or not (this was just an evidentiary hearing to see if there would be a trial). Should Sloan refuse to testify at Knight's likely murder trial, any statements he made to prosecutors might be inadmissible due to the 6th Amendment's Confrontation Clause, which gives criminal defendants the right to confront witnesses.
If Sloan does appear, prosecutors can call him as a witness, challenge him with his previous statements, and argue that his initial report to police is what actually happened. Depending on the other evidence available, this may or may not be enough to get a conviction.