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Trial for accused Bourbon Street shooter pushed back to February

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NEW ORLEANS — The trial of Trung Le, the only person arrested in this summer's mass shooting on Bourbon Street, has been pushed back to Feb. 23.

Le was scheduled to be tried Dec. 1 on one charge each of attempted murder and manslaughter. The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/11E9SUB) prosecutors moved Friday for a continuance, arguing that several of their witnesses wouldn't be able to travel from out of town in time for the trial.

Laura Rodrigue, the lead prosecutor on the case, said the state intends to call witnesses from as far as Australia to testify.

Le's defense attorneys opposed the continuance, arguing the law required the state to identify their witnesses and disclose the substance of their testimony, if their absence was the basis of a continuance.

Rodrigue countered that the state was allowed to withhold the names of witnesses if divulging their identities could jeopardize their safety.

Ad hoc Judge Calvin Johnson, filling in for Judge Julian Parker, who is ill, ruled in Rodrigue's favor.

Gary Wainwright, one of Le's attorneys, said the continuance was an attempt by the District Attorney's Office to delay trying a weak case.

"They can't bear the burden of truth. They can't stand the embarrassment of losing this case," he said.

"I guess who will be embarrassed at the end of the day, the jury will decide," Rodrigue said.

Both sides have stipulated during earlier hearings that Le was one of two gunmen involved in the July 29 shootout in which nine people were injured and 21-year-old Brittany Thomas was killed.

Le's attorneys have claimed their client shot in self-defense — only after the other gunman drew his weapon and pointed it at Le and his friends.

The exchange was captured on video surveillance.

The second shooter has yet to be apprehended. Bullets from the second shooter's .40-caliber handgun killed Thomas.

Le is currently being held on $250,000 bond.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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