Covering Louisiana

Sep 17, 2013 11:25 AM

Judge orders new trial in killings after Katrina

A federal judge has ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans police officers convicted of civil rights violations stemming from deadly shootings on a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled Tuesday that the "highly unusual, extensive and truly bizarre actions" of prosecutors warrant throwing out the officers' convictions. Attorneys for the five former officers convicted at trial in 2011 claim a series of leaks to news organizations were part of a "secret public relations campaign" that deprived their clients of a fair trial. Police shot and killed two unarmed people and wounded four others on Sept. 4, 2005, at the Danziger Bridge before engaging in a cover-up designed to make the shootings appear justified.

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