Five New Orleans police officers convicted of federal crimes related to the shooting of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge have asked a federal judge for a new trial. The cops say "the government engaged in a secret public relations campaign" against the defendants.
The 50-page motion filed in federal court cites behavior by disgraced former U.S. Assistant Prosecutor Sal Perricone, accusing him of mocking the defendants and attempting to influence the potential jury pool as the case was preparing to go to trial.
Perricone resigned earlier this year after admitting to posting sharply-worded posts on Nola.com under an anonymous handle. Recently, Jan Mann, the top Assistant U.S. Attorney under Jim Letten, was demoted after being accused of doing the same.
Mann has not admitted to the alleged misconduct, but was removed from her supervisory roles within the office.
Federal Judge Judge Kurt Englehardt, who oversaw the Danziger cases, said today in response to the motion that he wants more information about Perricone and Mann's alleged activities as it relates to the Danziger case.
"In light of this backdrop, along with the still unknown extent to which AUSA Perricone, first AUSA Mann, and perhaps others, took liberties with knowledge possessed through positions of authority in the United States Attorney's Office, the court believes further inquiry is warranted," WWL-TV reports Englehardt said in his ruling. "The court will not simply turn a blind eye toward such matters of consequence."