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Archive for Friday, December 14, 2007

Judge orders review of slur against Williams

December 14, 2007

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— The judge overseeing the retrial of former NBA player Jayson Williams ordered prosecutors Thursday to provide all details surrounding a racial slur made by an officer investigating the 2002 shotgun killing of a hired driver.

State Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman reviewed the material in his chambers with defense lawyers and prosecutors. He made no immediate ruling on what might be admissible.

Williams' defense team argued that prosecutors are obligated to give them all details about the incident, including the identity of the officer who made the slur and the person who heard the slur and subsequently filed an official complaint.

"We want to know: Who was that officer? What was his role in the investigation?" defense attorney Joseph Hayden said Thursday. "Who did he supervise? Who else was there? How were they impacted? Were they coerced or intimidated by comments like that? This is what we should have known five years ago.

"Was it indicative of an attitude toward Mr. Williams in the investigation, or just of that particular officer?"

Williams, 39, was convicted in April 2004 on four counts stemming from a failed attempt to cover up the shooting of Costas "Gus" Christofi but was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter.

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