|Appeal on slur in Williams manslaughter trial set for May|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2008 13:13|
The hearing was scheduled for May 14 by the state Appellate Division. At issue is an appeal by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office of a judge's order to release all details about the incident.
On Wednesday, the appeals court also set a timetable for the two sides to submit briefs and replies.
The 39-year-old Williams was convicted in April 2004 on four counts stemming from a failed attempt to cover up the 2002 shooting of hired driver Costas Christofi, 55. Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter but is facing retrial on a reckless manslaughter count.
The retrial was originally scheduled for early January, but has been delayed pending resolution of the dispute over the slur.
Williams' attorneys have argued that prosecutors are obligated to give them all details about the slur, including the identities of the officer who made it and the person who overheard it and subsequently filed an official complaint.
The unidentified officer did not testify at the first trial and has since resigned from the prosecutor's office.
Hunterdon County Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes alerted State Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman about the unspecified slur in October, telling him that a ``superior officer'' was accused of using a racial epithet to describe Williams in a meeting sometime before the 2004 trial.
Prosecutors have denied that they acted improperly by failing to notify the defense team in 2004 about the incident or the resulting investigation.