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Income, reliance on family for money are reasons ex-cop Slager seeks public defender

The former North Charleston police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed black man running from a traffic stop says he has no income and relies on family financial assistance to survive.

For that reason, Michael Slager says he needs a court-appointed attorney and funding for experts in his pending state murder re-trial.

In a memo from Ninth Circuit Public Defender Ashley Pennington, he says Slager appears to meet the guidelines for indigence because "he supports a family of five, including three minors."

Pennington adds: "He and his wife have been unemployed until recently. Mr. Slager's present income falls below the federal poverty guidelines."

Pennington notes that Slager has not been able to pay his family's expenses without his father and uncle, who are paying most of his family's expenses.

The filing echoes a similar conclusion made in December 2015, when Slager was ruled indigent ahead of his first trial and sought financial relief for attorney's fees and expert witnesses while retaining Andy Savage as his attorney.

Slager's current lawyer, Andy Savage, said in an email to the Associated Press that a judge has to approve Slager's request, made in state court where his first murder trial ended last year with a hung jury.

It's unclear if Savage will continue representing Slager in state court, but he had been as recently as January.

Savage also represents Slager in federal court, where he'll be tried on civil rights charges in May.

Slager was fired and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott following an April 2015 traffic stop in North Charleston. After a five-week trial, a jury could not reach a consensus on his guilt or innocence and a mistrial was declared.

His re-trial is currently slated for Aug. 28, but that could be moved up if the federal case does not proceed under the direction of the Trump administration and the new head of the Department of Justice.

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