Koon and Powell File for New Federal Trial

From Reuters

The two white police officers convicted of violating black motorist Rodney G. King's civil rights in his March, 1991, beating, filed legal motions Thursday asking for a new trial.

Lawyers for Sgt. Stacey C. Koon and Officer Laurence M. Powell claimed in their motions that their clients were denied a fair trial.

Two other officers, Theodore J. Briseno and Timothy E. Wind, were acquitted in the two-month federal trial.

Attorneys Harland W. Braun, representing Koon, and Michael P. Stone, representing Powell, argued in their motions that U.S. District Judge John G. Davies, who presided over the volatile trial, should not have allowed the jury to hear Briseno's videotaped testimony from the officers' first trial--on state assault charges--in suburban Simi Valley.

In that testimony, Briseno said he thought Powell, who was seen on an amateur videotape administering most of the more than 50 baton blows on King, was "out of control," and criticized Koon for not controlling the situation.

The videotaped evidence was introduced by the prosecution.

Braun and Stone argued in their motions that because Briseno did not testify in the federal trial, they did not have an opportunity to cross-examine him on his videotaped evidence.

The jury in the state trial found the four officers not guilty, verdicts that started last year's riots, in which 52 people died.

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