Judge Barry Williams held the last in a string of fall hearings ahead of the trial of the officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray on Tuesday morning. Among the takeaways: we won’t know the identities of the jurors, and Williams still isn’t moving the setting.
Officer William Porter’s trial is set to begin Monday, Nov. 30, on charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree- assault and misconduct in office. Porter is one of six officers charged in connection with the death of Gray, who according to state officials died after suffering a spinal cord injury in the back of a police van on April 12.
Once again, the worldwide attention the case is attracting was even a subject in the courtroom. According to WBAL-TV, they asked for a change of venue for the trial based on news articles and a study on how Baltimore residents view police. As he did in the past, Williams denied that motion. In a move that appeared to acknowledge the media scrutiny, however, Williams made the rare move of explicitly stating the jury will remain anonymous. However, Williams will not order the jurors to be sequestered.
Porter’s team also wanted to be allowed to strike as many as ten jurors, but Williams would only allow four.
During the trial itself, two videos of Gray being arrested will once again be shown, per another ruling. And the fact that Gray was not secured by a seatbelt is allowed to be a topic of conversation in the courtroom.
For their part, prosecutors wanted to limit the number of character witnesses who will be able to testify on Porter’s behalf. But the judge also denied that motion.
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