ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Attorneys for a New Jersey police officer indicted on first degree murder charges has filed a motion in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court claiming prosecutors presented false testimony to the grand jury.
Lawyers said the assistant Anne Arundel County state’s attorney trying the case against Det. Joseph Walker and the Maryland state trooper who led the investigation also purposely withheld key facts.
Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess released a statement Wednesday defending Michael Dunty, the assistant state's attorney handling the case.
“The Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct require that we try cases in the courtroom and not in the media," Leitess said. “I am confident that ... Dunty did nothing improper during his presentation to the grand jury and after a judge hears the evidence, the court will agree.”
Walker, who had been a police officer for 18 years, was traveling home to New Jersey on Interstate 97 last June when he got into an altercation with another driver, Joseph Harvey.
The incident ended with Walker shooting Harvey after the two drivers pulled over to the side of the road. Lawyers for Walker have argued the officer acted in self-defense.
In motions filed Tuesday, Walker’s lawyers argued the prosecutor never told the grand jury Harvey was later found to be legally intoxicated when the incident happened.
They also claim the assistant state’s attorney and trooper falsely stated Harvey had his hands up, suggesting he was going to surrender and that none of Harvey’s wounds showed evidence of being fired at close range.
Lawyers also said Walker gave a statement to Anne Arundel County police that he feared for his life and the life of his wife and three children, but the trooper told the grand jury Walker made no statements.
In a second motion filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, lawyers for Walker are seeking to admit the results of a polygraph that Walker passed on Feb. 12.
Walker is represented by criminal defense attorneys Steven H. Levin and Charles N. Curlett, Jr. of the Baltimore law firm Levin and Curlett, and Michael Cornacchia of Manhattan.
Since the shooting, his attorneys said, Walker has been suspended without pay, and is being assisted with the payment of legal fees and expenses by both the National Police Defense Foundation and the New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association.