Attorney for Bourbon St. shooting suspect seeks witness list, new judge

Alleged Bourbon St. shooter wants a new judge
Published: Dec. 22, 2015 at 7:57 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2015 at 10:08 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The attorney for a man who has been jailed for a year and a half in connection with a mass shooting on Bourbon Street is trying to get the judge removed from the case.

Martin Regan said Tuesday that he is not being given the information he needs to properly defend his client, Trung Le, in a shooting that made national headlines.

Ten people were shot on Bourbon St. in June of 2014, and one of them, nursing student Brittany Thomas, died from a bullet wound to the head.

Le, the only man arrested in the case, was captured in Gulfport days later and has been held on a $1.5 million bond and awaiting trial ever since.

"My client is in jail and he needs to come home," Regan said.

Le is set to go on trial for manslaughter in three weeks, but his attorney is not. That's because prosecutors have failed to give Regan the witness list.

"It's unconstitutional," Regan said. "You have a right to due process. I can't defend the man if I don't have the witnesses that saw what happened."

The state has given the defense some documents with witness names blacked out, and Regan said it's a far cry from what is done in other jurisdictions.

"It is laughable that we can't get witnesses in the case of a man facing a life sentence," Regan said. It is unheard of."

Assistant District Attorney Chris Bowman makes no apologies.

"It's been ruled on by the trial court, the appellate court and the state Supreme Court, all of whom say what we're doing is legal," Bowman said.

"It's like a doctor who's a great physician, but he's got a patient dying without medication," Regan said. "He could be the best in the world, but the client will die - my client will die in prison if I don't have the names of the witnesses who saw what happened."

Regan also wants Judge Byron Williams removed from the case.

"The judge has already said in advance - we have not asked for a continuance - but he's told us don't ask for a continuance," Regan said. "There could be multiple witnesses, like a witness in Canada - I don't know if I can get him here in five days."

Unless a higher court intervenes, Le will go on trial Jan. 11. Bowman said Regan will get the witness list four days before trial, which he said is more than the law requires.  For his part, Judge Williams declined comment on Regan's recusal motion.

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