NEW ORLEANS – An officer that plead guilty in the Danziger trial who took place over the summer testified against Gerard Dugue Thursday morning by saying he was involved in a secret meeting in which officers got their stories straight.
Dugue is the final defendant to stand trial in the shootings that left two people dead and four others wounded in the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina. He is accused of helping to cover up the shootings through a follow-up investigation he co-authored.
Former NOPD officer Jefferey Lehrmann testified that Dugue was present at a secret meeting in the gutted Seventh District building.
Dugue was one of the leaders of the meeting, along with Arthur Kaufman and Kenneth Bowen, who advocated that all officers involved needed to get their stories straight before they went on the record, according to Lehrmann.
Lehrmann testified that Dugue said he would deny the meeting ever took place if he was asked.
On cross examination, the defense attorney pointed out instances of Lehrmann lying under oath several times. He was asked if he had a memory problem, to which he replied, “No.”
The defense attorney suggested that Lehrmann’s “sweetheart deal” with the FBI was influencing his testimony.
Earlier in the day, Tracy Has, a former NOPD crime scene ddtective was on the stand.
She collected evidence from the Danziger Bridge seven weeks after the incident.
She claimed that Dugue instructed her to only collect evidence from one area of the scene. She later found out that in the area she was instructed to avoid, one of the victims was shot.
The defense attorney said that the investigation was abnormal because it happened so long after the incident and NOPD didn't have proper resources for the search, like metal detectors, due to Katrina flooding.