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NO RAP FOR DEATH ROW
Suge Knight and Label Bargain for Misdemeanor; Old Man Takes the Fall
Looks like Death Row founder Marion "Suge" Knight will remain a free man.

The gangsta rap impresario will not face charges stemming from a years-old Federal investigation into his activities and those of Death Row, according to a report in the L.A. Times. Instead, Death Row will plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax evasion charge and pay a $100,000 fine and back taxes. Allegations that Death Row was involved in murder, drugs, gun-running and money laundering apparently remain unsubstantiated.

The government investigation resulted in evidence that Death Row failed to pay taxes on income of just over $800,000 between December 1995 and Novembr 1996, according to the Times report. Knight blames this on a former accountant (who when last heard from had gone into hiding). Knight received a seven-figure out-of-court settlement from the accountant's firm after suing for fraud.

Knight did not go to court to enter into the U.S. Attorney's plea agreement, but instead sent his father, Marion Knight, Sr., to take the rap. Separately, Knight's longtime attorney and associate David Kenner agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax violation that will result in about $20,000 in penalties and could mean as much as a year in jail. Kenner has serious health problems including a heart condition which precluded him from fighting the charge, his lawyer said.

Upon being released from prison last year, Knight seemed to indicate that his days as the intimidator of gangsta rap were over. He said his business activities, while still tied to the street, would focus on finding and developing young, new talent and be based on positivity. He dropped the "Death" from Death Row and changed the name of the label to Tha Row after his release to represent his new direction.

Knight served five years for a probation violation stemming from his involvement in a beating at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas on the night Death Row artist Tupac Shakur was fatally gunned down.

Meanwhile, the front page of Tha Row's Website (www.tharow.com) currently features a love letter of sorts to former partner Dr. Dre, for whom Knight has had unkind words in the past. "The same nigga that used to sing 'Fuck tha Police' is now singing to the police," the page begins, followed by a rotating animation of the words "snitch," "bitch," "fake" and "homo" in succession. "Dr. Dre recently went to the police," the page continues, "and as a result of his snitching Suge Knight was told he shall not associate or have contact with Andre Young, AKA Dr. Dre, directly, through others, or through third party means such as mail, telephone, email, or any other means of contact." Glad to see they're working things out.

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