On Tuesday (Jan. 23) in Los Angeles Superior Court, a judge oversaw a hearing that was sparked by a pair of journalists who were summoned to testify in front of the grand jury in Suge Knight‘s murder trial. The journalists, who are the producers of an upcoming docu-series called Death Row Chronicles, are demanding that they have their grand jury subpoenas eliminated and items that were seized in a search warrant returned to them.
As exclusively reported by The Hollywood Reporter, documentary filmmakers Nora Donaghy and William Erb, have been in close contact with Suge Knight and others connected to the fallen Death Row empire. The pair reportedly uncovered an eyewitness to the murder of Tupac “2Pac” Shakur among other facts, but it appears their chats with the former Death Row honcho violated a law in the state of California. This set off a chain of events that led to Donaghy getting her phone taken away by police on Jan. 18, and Erb receiving a menacing call from police late last year.
According to a filed declaration by Donaghy, whose work includes Darfur Now, Betting on Zero and the Emmy-nominated L.A. Burning, two law enforcement officers showed up at her home on the morning of Jan. 18. She says she was “shocked and terrified,” and the officers presented her with a search warrant.
A copy of the search warrant reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter seeks evidence of an alleged conspiracy to violate court orders related to Knight’s pending murder prosecution.
“One of the officers told me that I was required by the warrant to hand over my cell phone,” she continued in her declaration. “They also asked me for my passcode and asked me to type the passcode into the phone in their presence to make sure it worked. Believing I had no alternative and frightened by the unexpected arrival of two homicide officers at my home, early in the morning, I gave them my iPhone and the passcode and showed them it worked.”
The outlet adds that Erb wrote in a separate declaration that someone who claims to have been from the police was aware that someone from the eOne team spoke with Knight and that it was a violation of the law. Erb then says police showed up at his door on Jan. 17 to serve him with the grand jury summons. The pair filed an application immediately after to block the summons.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office is pushing back, saying that the journalists waived their rights to fight the summons and the evidence seizure because they responded to questions from an investigator.
Read more about this explosive development in the Suge Knight matter by following this link.