Marion “Suge” Knight on Thursday (Feb. 16) filed a $106 million lawsuit against a convicted drug dealer, Michael Harris who claims to have founded the mogul’s Death Row Records with seed money from behind bars.
Knight, who has always denied the claim, is charging current San Quentin State Prison resident Michael Harris with federal fraud, conspiracy and racketeering. Knight’s attorney, Dermot Givens, said that Harris was a federal informant who concocted “a scheme to blackmail various entertainment industry entities” by threatening to sue over his alleged drug money investments.”There was an effort to silence rap music and specifically Suge Knight, who was its icon,” Givens told the Associated Press. The suit claims that Harris and others, including attorneys David Casselman and Steven Goldberg, were behind a lawsuit filed by Harris’s wife that led to a $107-million judgment against the notorious rap mogul last year. Givens said she agreed to settle several months later for $1 million and certain rights to use Death Row music. Harris’ attorney Goldberg said the judgment still stands and claims Knight’s lawsuit is “a last-ditch gasp” to avoid paying.
“It’s a pathetic and desperate joke,” he said.
Michael Harris, currently serving a 28-year sentence in San Quentin for narcotics distribution and attempted murder, says he provided more than $1.5 million in seed money from jail in 1991 to launch Death Row.