THOMPSON CASE: Defense Submits Documents That Could Lead To New Trial
SPOKANE, Wash. - New court documents revealed on Thursday what jurors may have seen during the trial of soon to be former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson. Approximately five jurors stayed at the Oxford Suites in Yakima while the trial was going on.
In a 7 page report submitted by the office of Thompson's Defense Attorney Carl Oreskovich, a paralegal with Oreskovich's firm, claims there were always two television sets that played continuously in the hotel's breakfast room.
The paralegal said that on the morning of November 1st she went down to the breakfast room and noticed both of the stations were set to Northwest Cable News, and that day, the station included a bottom line ticker on the Thompson trial that included the words "beating death of mentally ill man."
Jurors were not supposed to be aware of Zehm's mental health or his innocence, as that was not allowed as evidence into court. When the paralegal returned to Spokane on Thursday, November 3rd she says she contacted Outpost Media, who handles the storage of the broadcasts for the BELO owned Northwest Cable News.
She then requested any video clips from the stories that were aired or shown during the time of November 1st and 2nd, the two full days of deliberation. On November 8th Oreskovich's office received a phone call from Outpost Video saying that five stories and two different ticker tapes ran during the time period of October 31st through November 2nd, 2011 (Closing arguments until the verdict).
According to the court documents, Outpost Video claims on November 1st (first full day of deliberation) this ticker tape ran in the morning:
"Jurors deliberated briefly yesterday after attorneys wrapped up closing arguments in the trial of a Spokane police officer accused of excessive force in the beating death of mentally ill man. The jury will continue deliberations today."
The previous day (closing arguments and beginning of deliberations), Northwest Cable News ran this ticker:
"Closing arguments begin today in the case of Spokane police officer Karl Thompson. Prosecutors say Thompson used excessive force in a 2006 confrontation with Otto Zehm and then lied about it. The mentally ill man was mistakenly accused of taking money from an ATM. Rebuttal witnesses for both the prosecution and defense are set to testify following closing arguments."
Also Thursday, Defense Attorney Carl Oreskovich asked for an extension of 14 days in submitting his motion for a new trial. Judge Fred Van Sickle says once he has all of the information he needs he will set a time for a motion hearing on whether or not attorneys can interview jurors.
This story was filed by KHQ Local News reporter Alex Rozier
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