In his have terms, Matthew Fletcher is a “f— gang motherf— law firm.”

The protection attorney’s crass self-assessment was captured on tape a number of several years back even though L.A. County sheriff’s investigators eavesdropped on one of his conversations. It was standard bravado for a gentleman who usually speaks with immediate-hearth profanity and can rattle off the turf boundaries of Compton’s avenue gangs as quickly as yet another lawyer may well cite sections of the penal code.

For the history:

4:09 p.m. Feb. 13, 2022An previously model of this story misspelled L.A. County Sheriff’s Det. Francis Hardiman’s initially name as Frances.

The persona has endeared him to consumers, when aggravating prosecutors and detectives, some of whom say Fletcher behaves additional like a defendant than a defense lawyer.

That line has blurred entirely in a Los Angeles courtroom where for the previous two months Fletcher has defended himself versus rates he conspired to bribe witnesses to lie on behalf of gangsta rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, whom Fletcher represented in a murder scenario.

Right after listening to closing arguments from prosecutors and Fletcher, who acted as his own lawyer, jurors are expected to start deliberating this week. If convicted Fletcher could experience virtually 4 several years in prison.

Prosecutors portrayed the case against Fletcher to jurors as a righteous stand against a corrupt lawyer, with Deputy. Dist. Atty. Stefan Mrakich evaluating Fletcher in his closing assertion at demo to Saul Goodman, the morally rudderless legal professional on “Breaking Bad” and “Better Connect with Saul.”

Knight’s murder situation ended in 2018, when the Death Row Data founder pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 28 several years in jail for jogging his pickup truck over a male at a burger stand in South L.A.

Six months prior to Knight’s plea offer, Fletcher and yet another member of Knight’s defense crew, Thaddeus Culpepper, were being indicted on numerous prices associated to the alleged witness tampering. Fletcher has also been charged with a count of perjury arising from a listening to related to an unrelated allegation of misconduct introduced in 2016 by the State Bar of California.

Culpepper’s situation is on maintain as he faces a federal trial next thirty day period on allegations that he cashed extra than $1 million in stolen checks.

Prosecutors say the lawyers were ready to shell out witnesses to testify that a team of guys who confronted Knight at the burger stand have been armed with guns in order to bolster Knight’s claim he was the target of an assassination plot and experienced been fleeing for his existence when he killed Terry Carter and seriously wounded Cle “Bone” Sloan in January 2015.

Their situation rests intensely on recorded jailhouse conversations he had with Knight as very well as conversations with a Sheriff’s Office informant who posed as a witness willing to assistance the protection. Prosecutors have acknowledged they have no evidence Fletcher basically bribed any person, but argued at demo that his recorded remarks present he supposed to do so.

“If these motherf— received a price, properly let us get that motherf— price paid out,” Fletcher explained to the informant on a single contact played in court docket. “I advised Suge … male, you can often make some much more revenue. You can’t make any much more liberty although.”

In another simply call, Fletcher explained to Knight that $25,000 would be a “fair investment” to protected an acquittal.

To win a conspiracy conviction, prosecutors require to show Fletcher created an settlement with a person to commit a criminal offense and took a phase toward accomplishing so, even if he did not total the prison act.

Fletcher has insisted that his references to shelling out witnesses ended up about his willingness to compensate them for films or other recordings they made at the burger stand. In Knight’s case, Fletcher claimed movies shot by witnesses would clearly show Knight’s alleged attackers were keeping guns, but no films or other evidence corroborating that claim have at any time surfaced.

Some authorized authorities, however, expressed concern that the demo is the newest in a sequence of extremely intense maneuvers prosecutors designed in their pursuit of Knight and his allies.

Yet another attorney in the case, Mark Blankenship, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2019 and was placed on probation for supporting facilitate the sale of online video of the lethal crash to TMZ. Knight’s fiancee, Toi-Lin Kelley, was sentenced to 3 many years in jail for encouraging Knight violate a courtroom purchase. Sheriff’s detectives also seized a journalist’s cellular phone and sought to drive two filmmakers to testify at a grand jury hearing linked to the situation in 2018.

Fletcher was the attorney of file on Knight’s murder scenario only for two months in 2016, nevertheless he also represented Knight in a connected circumstance involving threats Knight allegedly made in opposition to a film director.

Mrakich dismissed tips that Fletcher experienced been subject matter to a “witch hunt.” The investigation into Fletcher and other Knight associates, he reported, was sparked by Fletcher’s phone phone calls with Knight and a leak of surveillance video clip of the crash to TMZ.

Though investigators generally would be barred from eavesdropping on jailhouse calls concerning an attorney and his shopper, Knight’s practice of making it possible for his fiancee or others on the phone calls intended they had been no for a longer period private and opened the doorway to allowing detectives to hear in, court records show. And once investigators lifted concerns that Fletcher could be tampering with witnesses, a judge gave them authorization to listen to phone calls involving Knight and Fletcher, regardless of irrespective of whether anybody else joined them.

As the witness tampering investigation progressed, prosecutors experienced a private informant solution Knight and present to aid with his situation. Knight sent the informant to Fletcher, who advised witnesses would need to be paid, in accordance to recordings performed in courtroom.

“If this cat’s ready to occur ahead and say, ‘Look person we had guns’ … I never care why he suggests it,” Fletcher explained on a jailhouse call with Knight, in accordance to a transcript revealed in court docket. “And if somewhere down the street they say, ‘Oh, they gave us $50 racks,’ say, ‘OK, well show that s—.’”

Fletcher has continuously claimed the situation against him is the end result of a vendetta held by the direct investigator in the scenario, L.A. County Sheriff’s Det. Francis Hardiman.

Though testifying in his personal defense, Fletcher yelled that Hardiman experienced been “trying to get me for 10 decades.”

At one point through the trial when the jury was not current, Hardiman prompt to the choose that jurors should really hear about an incident in which an undercover operative attempted to get Fletcher to take methamphetamine as payment for authorized products and services. Hardiman claimed Fletcher responded to the offer by saying he experienced purchased and offered significantly more drugs in his everyday living than the informant was giving.

Fletcher laughed at the detective and mentioned, “I knew he was undercover.”

In the direct-up to the trial, Alexandra Kazarian, an legal professional aiding Fletcher in his situation, also tried out to portray Hardiman as a rogue detective with questionable trustworthiness. In a courtroom submitting, she accused Hardiman and his companion, Richard Biddle, of routinely “threatening legal motion from defense attorneys and prison justice reform advocates who they see as ‘interfering’ with their scenarios.”

She pointed to a murder scenario in Compton final yr in which Hardiman arrested protection legal professional Naren Hunter on suspicion of obstruction of justice. Hunter did not reply to a request for comment and the district attorney’s office environment stated only that it has not nonetheless resolved no matter if to file prices against him.

Kazarian also wrote that Fletcher and Hardiman have a “long and tumultuous background.” In one particular incident, she alleged, Hardiman threatened a witness who refused to cooperate in a scenario in which Fletcher was defending a higher-ranking member of the Mexican Mafia.

“I will run you more than like a educate to get what I want, Alright?” Hardiman mentioned to the lady, according to the motion Kazarian filed.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Phil Stirling, who assisted prosecute Fletcher, downplayed Kazarian’s claims, indicating Hardiman and Fletcher crossed paths only on the Knight investigation and the Mexican Mafia situation.

And Hardiman’s comment to the witness about the train, Stirling reported, was a “metaphor,” which Fletcher and Kazarian experienced taken out of context.

In his closing arguments very last 7 days, Mrakich claimed Fletcher is incapable of telling the reality. He informed jurors they ought to feel what they read Fletcher say on the recordings, not his explanations of what he intended.

“I consider you can safely say if Mr. Fletcher is standing and his mouth is open and he’s expressing anything … it’s false,” Mrakich mentioned. “He lies about his own lies.”

But Fletcher maintains it is prosecutors who are currently being dishonest. Even with all of the recordings they played of his discussions, Fletcher regularly famous prosecutors experienced failed to present a witness who testified Fletcher supplied them money or requested them to lie for Knight.

“You carry in just one witness who suggests that,” Fletcher said continuously through the demo. “And I’ll plead responsible.”

Instances workers writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.