New delay sought in cabbie sex trial
Trial is set to begin Friday (Jan. 16) for a New Orleans lawyer caught on video making advances to a cab driver, but the state has asked for a continuance, and defense attorneys say it's due to a new witness.
Jennifer Gaubert is charged with making false statements against cab driver Harvey Ferrell, who filmed an encounter between them inside his cab. In the video, Ferrell appears to be fending off Gaubert's sexual advances.
However, Gaubert's attorneys say a new witness has come forward who can testify that Gaubert and the cab driver engaged in consensual sex prior to the recording. Defense attorneys say they have notified prosecutors that the new witness, a sheriff's deputy, will cast doubt on Ferrell's story, setting the stage for possible perjury.
"You can't put a witness on the stand who you know is lying, but everyday lawyers put competing witnesses on the stand, saying he's lying - but not every lawyer is suborning perjury," says Fox 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti.
If Judge Arthur Hunter grants the D.A.'s request for a continuance, this will be the second time trial has been delayed. It was originally set for June 2014, but was delayed when prosecutors changed the charge against Gaubert to "false swearing for purpose of violating public health or safety."
Raspanti says until the request for a new continuance is addressed in court, it's too early to judge the prosecution's case.
"Here, they are taking a step back and re-evaluating where they are with their witnesses in an abundance of caution," he said.
Gaubert attorney Buddy Spell says if Judge Hunter decides not to grant the request for a delay, he and his co-counsel will be ready for trial.
This case has had a number of twists and turns. Originally, the cab driver was charged with trying to extort money from Gaubert - a former radio show host - to try and make the video disappear. But the D.A. dropped that charge, and instead charged Gaubert with making false statements.
All sides are expected in Orleans Criminal Court on Friday morning.
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