NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans police officers convicted of civil rights violations stemming from deadly shootings on a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled Tuesday that prosecutors' "highly unusual, extensive and truly bizarre actions" warrant throwing out the convictions.
Attorneys for the former officers convicted in 2011 say that a series of leaks to news organizations were part of a "secret public relations campaign" that deprived their clients of a fair trial. Police shot and killed two unarmed people and wounded four others on Sept. 4, 2005, at the Danziger Bridge. Five former officers cooperated with a Justice Department investigation and pleaded guilty to engaging in a cover-up designed to make the shootings appear justified.
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