Court: Ex-cops in Danziger case deserve re-trial - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Court: Ex-cops in Danziger case deserve re-trial

Danziger Bridge (Source: Flickr Commons) Danziger Bridge (Source: Flickr Commons)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A three-judge federal panel ruled Tuesday that the former NOPD officers convicted in post-Katrina killings and a cover-up should get new trials.

(Read the ruling here.)

The officers were convicted on various charges in the killings of two unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge.

Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso and Robert Falcon were convicted of firearm charges in the shootings. Retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, who was assigned to investigate the shootings, was convicted of helping to cover up the crime. Their 2011 convictions were thrown out by a federal judge who said anonymous online postings by prosecutors tainted the case. Tuesday's decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds that judge's decision.

The ruling states:

"The reasons for granting a new trial are novel and extraordinary. No less than three high-ranking prosecutors are known to have been posting online, anonymous comments to newspaper articles about the case through its duration."

Former Assistant United States Attorney and senior trial counsel Sal Perricone and former First Assistant United States Attorney and Criminal Division Chief Jan Mann were found to be regular commenters on NOLA.com stories related to the investigation. 

"I can read and understand what the judges said, but certainly we are not supportive of having to put the families back through this ordeal again," said New Orleans NAACP President Morris Reed.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said he expects to see a completely different trial this time.

"Some of those witnesses for the prosecution that we're so bad are not going to be called by them," Raspanti said. "They may be called by the other side. It's going to be cleaned up. Usually these cases are trimmed down - they're going to be shortened more to the point. That's usually the way it goes."

Raspanti believes that new trial will happen at the end of 2016.  

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