Source: The New Orleans Advocate
In a 129-page order, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt overturned the jury convictions of five New Orleans police officers accused of shooting unarmed people almost a week after Hurricane Katrina and then orchestrating a cover-up.
His decision focused largely on the two high-ranking former prosecutors who anonymously posted online comments about the case, as well as other pending cases, when it was still in its infancy and during the month-long trial.
“This case started as one featuring allegations of brazen abuse of authority, violation of the law, and corruption of the criminal justice system; unfortunately, though the focus has switched from the accused to the accusors, it has continued to be about those very issues. After much reflection, the Court cannot journey as far as it has in this case only to ironically accept grotesque prosecutorial misconduct in the end,” Engelhardt wrote.
The defendants receiving new trials include Kenneth Bowen, Anthony Villavaso, Robert Gisevius, and Robert Faulcon, all accused of firing their weapons at civilians walking across the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005. Defendant Archie Kaufman, a homicide detective accused of helping to orchestrate a massive cover-up with the others, also will receive a new trial.
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