Danziger defense attorneys attack credibility of key government witness

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 7 at 5:44 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- Jurors spent another day in federal court in the trial of five former or current New Orleans police officers who face charges for firing on civilians on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina.

On Thursday they heard more testimony from an officer on the bridge that day and from a relative of one of the shooting victims.

The defense continued their cross-examination of former Officer Michael Hunter and the jury also heard from the sister of one of the victims killed that day.

Defense attorneys hammered away at former Officer Michael Hunter’s credibility, pointing out instances where he repeatedly lied while working for the NOPD.

They pointed out that Hunter did not live in the city, a requirement then for officers, that he was suspended for three days for lying, and that he lied before a state grand jury about the Danziger Bridge shooting.

“I didn’t have the courage to tell the truth,” Hunter said in his testimony. “There was a time I would’ve lied to just about everybody.”

“All of the attorneys that have had a chance to cross examine Michael Hunt so far have attacked him for previous inconsistencies or lies that he has allegedly made,” said Donald “Chick” Foret.

Under cross examination Hunter admitted Sgt. Arthur Kaufman did not tell him what to say in his statement, but said “it was implied.”

“It was a double-edged sword, but I think the defense scored some points because clearly Hunter admitted on cross examination that, ‘No, Sgt. Kaufman did not tell me what to say in investigation when I gave my statement,’” Foret said.

In the afternoon prosecutors called Jacquelyne Madison Brown to the stand. She is the sister of Lance Madison, who was initially arrested at the bridge, and of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with special needs killed on the bridge that day.

Madison Brown told the jury her family was close, and she became emotional as she described breaking the news of Ronald’s death to her mother.

“She was devastated,” Brown said. “She couldn’t believe it.”

She also described her anger when the state case fell apart, saying, “We were angry. We were devastated. We felt the judicial system had failed us.”

 

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