Covering Louisiana

Jan 10, 2013 3:20 PM by AP

Man sues N.O. prosecutors over withheld evidence

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A man whose convictions on charges he killed five people at a 1995 party were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year is suing the New Orleans district attorney's office.

The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday on Juan Smith's behalf accuses prosecutors of concealing evidence from defense attorneys and lying to cover up their alleged misconduct.

Smith's suit seeks at least $24 million in damages. Former Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick, whose office prosecuted Smith, and Leon Cannizzaro, the current district attorney, also are named as defendants.

In January 2012, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Smith.

Connick's office never gave Smith's lawyers copies of a witness' inconsistent statements about whether he could recognize or identify Smith as one of the killers. The statements surfaced in 2004.

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