Michael Slager lawyer seeks proof of favorable treatment for star prosecution witness Feidin Santana
Michael Slager’s defense team wants prosecutors to hand over any evidence of aid they might have given or promised their star witness, Feidin Santana, the man who filmed the North Charleston officer shooting Walter Scott.
The motion filed late Wednesday in state court seeks details of any valuable items or treatment afforded Santana, a Dominican Republic native, or any “accommodation which could arguably reveal a motive or bias by the witness in favor of the state.”
They might include, lawyer Andy Savage said: immigration assistance, criminal immunity or help in legal disputes, along with money, food, clothing, shelter or transportation.
The request comes ahead of a planned hearing in the murder case at noon Tuesday at the Charleston County courthouse. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman is expected to take up several lingering issues, including Slager’s motion for a public defender.
A separate defense filing on Wednesday sought documentation of testing done on Slager’s Taser, a key piece of evidence in the dispute.
Slager’s trial on the state murder charge is scheduled for August, but he’s set to be tried first on a federal civil rights charge in May.
Slager, who is white, has stood by his innocence since Santana’s cellphone video captured him shooting Scott, 50, a black man, in the back. Such stark evidence of Scott’s death brought national scrutiny of police uses of force to North Charleston, a city long marked with tension between some minority communities and law enforcers.
The patrolman pulled over Scott’s car April 4, 2015, for a broken brake light and gave chase when Scott ran. They got into a fight. Slager said Scott grabbed his Taser and turned it against him. The officer said he fired to stop that threat.
His decision to shoot happened in seconds, and he insisted that he never saw the stun gun bounce to the ground as Scott turned to run.
The video showed Slager drawing his .45-caliber pistol and firing the first time when Scott was about 15 feet away. In all, eight shots were fired; five hit Scott.