June 11, 2023

Retrial Planned for Officer Linked to Post-Katrina Shootings

United States Attorney Jim Letten made the announcement late Friday but declined to provide further comment.

Earlier Friday, Judge Kurt Engelhardt of Federal District Court declared a mistrial in the case of the former police officer, Gerard Dugue, ruling that the Justice Department prosecutor, Bobbi Bernstein, may have tainted the jury hearing the trial by mentioning the name of a man who was beaten to death by a New Orleans police officer in a case unrelated to Mr. Dugue’s.

Mr. Dugue was on trial for charges that he wrote a false report on the shootings of unarmed residents on the Danziger Bridge, less than a week after the August 2005 hurricane. He was the last of 20 New Orleans police officers who were charged by the Justice Department’s civil rights division to go on trial, and the case was expected to go to the jury early this week.

Ms. Bernstein argued that merely mentioning the unrelated victim’s name could not amount to any prejudice against Mr. Dugue. Mr. Dugue was not charged in the other case, but Judge Engelhardt said it was impossible to know if any jurors had heard the remark and reached any negative conclusions.

“That’s a chance that I’m not willing to take,” he said, adding that a mistrial was “the last thing in the world I want to do.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d8eb0118cde3172d9e22f098023439bc

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