Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2009/09/30 15:38
A former investigator involved in the Jayson Williams manslaughter case on Tuesday described how he used a racial slur to describe the former NBA star, while his boss explained why he chose not to disclose the incident before Williams' 2004 trial.
The testimony occurred during a hearing in state Superior Court, where Williams' defense team is attempting to show that racial bias tainted the investigation and prosecution.
Williams, who retired in 2000 after nine seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter in 2004 in the shooting two years earlier of hired driver Costas "Gus" Christofi at Williams' central New Jersey mansion.
He was convicted on four counts of attempting to cover up the crime, and a jury deadlocked on a reckless manslaughter count for which Williams faces a retrial scheduled for January.
Tuesday's hearing, and another scheduled for Wednesday, were prompted by Hunterdon County Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes' disclosure of the racial epithet in 2007, more than three years after the trial.
Barnes said Tuesday he was notified about the slur in early 2003 from an employee who had been in the room when Hunt, who is white, said it in 2002. Barnes said although he reacted with "anger and disappointment," he chose not to inform the trial judge or Williams' defense team.