Slager Counsel Seeks State-Wide Jury Pool

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(CN) – The attorney for the white former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black motorist during an April 2015 traffic stop has requested the jurors for his client’s upcoming federal civil rights trial be picked from all over South Carolina.

Michael Slager’s first state murder trial over the death of Walter Scott ended in a mistrial in December. His second murder trial in state court is scheduled to begin March 1, and his federal civil rights trial is expected to start two months later.

State prosecutors charged Slager with murder three days after the April 4, 2015, after a cell phone video emerged showing him shooting Scott from a distance of several feet, as the motorist ran from him. Slager has maintained he fired in self defense after he and Scott got into a scuffle in which he got hold of the officer’s Taser.

His attorneys argue the passerby who shot the video didn’t arrive at the scene until after the scuffle had ended.

Federal civil rights charges were filed against Slager in May 2016.

After the state murder proceedings ended in a mistrial, U.S. District Judge David Norton postponed the civil rights case until the state’s retrial concludes.

In a motion filed Monday in Charleston, Slager attorney Andy Savage asked Norton to order that the jury pool be made up of residents randomly selected from the entire South Carolina federal district.

A district-wide jury is required, Savage  wrote in the filing Monday, “to (ensure) the efficient selection of impartial jurors … due to the extensive pretrial publicity in this case.”

The attorneys also asked for prospective jurors to be chosen from each of the 11 federal divisions in the state.