Danziger defendant files motion to get out of jail

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:16 AM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS - The first of the former New Orleans Police Officers now behind bars in the Danziger case has asked to be released from prison.

The request by Arthur Kaufman comes just days after a federal judge threw out the convictions of five officers accused in the coverup and shooting of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt who presided over the 7 week trial in 2011 ordered a new trial citing "grotesque prosecutorial misconduct."

Engelhardt's 129-page order pointed to a long series of improper online post by three high level federal prosecutors before and during the Danziger trial.

Kaufman was serving a six-year sentence for his alleged role in covering up the deadly shootings.

He is requesting the same $100,000 surety bond set by a federal magistrate before the original trial.

His attorney Steve London wrote in his motion, "Mr. Kaufman is now in the same position as he was when he was arraigned."

London told WWL-TV, "He was out on bond for all the pre-trial proceedings. He was on bond for the entire seven-week trial and he was on bond for the post trial proceedings and he self reported. He drove himself and he reported to prison."

WWL-TV Legal Analyst Jason Williams says Kaufman has a good shot at bail.

But, he believes the other defendants, Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso may have a tougher time getting out of jail, since they are accused of the actual shootings on the bridge.

"I think they're going to have a much more difficult time being released on bail based on the fact that this new trial was not granted because of evidence being withheld that was exculpatory or helpful to the defendants," said Williams. "This was based upon prosecutorial misconduct."

Attorney Tim Meche who represents Villavaso says he also intends to ask that his client be released pending the new trial.

"Hopefully, he'll be released soon on a reasonable bond," said Meche. "We do plan to apply that he be released on bond. We think he's a good candidate for that."

"There's still a wealth of evidence against the remaining defendants, so the judge knows this and he's certainly going to take that into consideration in the setting of bail," said Williams.

The judge has set a 30-day deadline for the Danziger attorneys to communicate and have a status conference in his office.

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