Judge orders new trial for New Orleans police officers in post-Katrina shooting
Published September 18, 2013
FILE - In this June 22, 2011 file photo, retired New Orleans police Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, center, enters Federal court for the start of jury selection in his trial, in New Orleans. (AP Photo)
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans police officers convicted of civil rights violations stemming from deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina, concluding the case had been tainted by "grotesque prosecutorial misconduct."
In a 129-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said at least three government attorneys posted anonymous comments on a New Orleans newspaper's website, creating a "carnival atmosphere" that perverted justice in the case.
"The public must have absolute trust and confidence in this process," he wrote. "Re-trying this case is a very small price to pay in order to protect the validity of the verdict in this case, the institutional integrity of this court, and the criminal justice system as a whole."