Exonerated man seeks federal probe of prosecutor

Exonerated man seeks federal probe of prosecutor
Published: Aug. 2, 2016 at 8:40 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2016 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - John Thompson spent 14 years on death row before hidden evidence emerged to prove his innocence. Thompson saw seven of his own execution dates come and go.

"In a last-ditch effort to save his life, investigators found blood type evidence to exonerate him. The prosecutors in this case knew about the evidence but never disclosed it to the defense team," said Loyola Law professor Andrea Armstrong.

Thompson filed a formal complaint, petitioning the Department of Justice to investigate incidents of prosecutorial misconduct in Orleans Parish during the tenure of former District Attorney Harry Connick.

He's especially asking for a review of all cases handled by former Assistant District Attorney James Williams.

"I'm blessed now. I'm home, but I have an obligation to do this because I would still be in prison. If I can't have a voice, at least let me try to have a voice for them," Thompson said.

According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, among the several death row inmates Williams helped to convict, Thompson and another man were later exonerated.

Two others had their sentences reduced.

"There were approximately 100 cases that he prosecuted in the exact same way as he said he did in the case of John Thompson, and what the petition asked for is, let's start with that," Armstrong said.

James Williams now runs a private law practice in Gretna.  He sent us the following statement via email:

"To make the record clear for the very last time, I never withheld any favorable evidence in either of John Thompson's criminal trials that I prosecuted. Nearly twenty years ago, I testified numerous times on that issue while it was being litigated in State and Federal Court. I was completely cleared of any wrongdoing.  

"One report has surfaced from NOLA.com that it is not clear that I participated in the Reginald Adams trial. I'll make it clear, I did not prosecute that case. I will have no further comments regarding the matter." 

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