Thomas Mesereau, who had the King of Pop acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, appeared in a Los Angeles court with his new client on Friday (29May15), hours after Knight's previous legal representative, Matt Fletcher, filed new papers asking the judge to dismiss the murder and attempted murder charges relating to a fatal hit-and-run incident on a California film set in January (15).

Knight stands accused of killing his friend, Terry Carter, and injuring a second man, actor Cle Sloan, as he attempted to race away from an altercation.

The Death Row Records co-founder has pleaded not guilty to the crimes, and in his filing early on Friday, Fletcher maintained Sloan had never officially identified Knight as the culprit in court.

However, by the time of Friday's hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court, Fletcher had been replaced by Mesereau, who asked Judge Ronald Coen to delay the motion for dismissal. The request was granted. The case is due to go to trial on 7 July (15).

Meanwhile, Judge Coen warned Knight that he had signed a permanent order allowing deputies to forcibly remove the hip-hop boss from his jail cell for future hearings if necessary.

The warning came two days after Knight skipped a separate hearing in a robbery case because he was too sick to leave his cell.

He has been battling ill health ever since he was shot at during a party last year (14). He has collapsed in and outside court in recent months and has been hospitalised several times.

Knight has also pleaded not guilty in the robbery case, in which he is accused of stealing a photographer's camera in September (14).