Slager retrial pushed back to late August start

The state retrial for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager has been pushed back to late summer.

Slager is charged with murder in the shooting of Walter Scott during a traffic stop in North Charleston early one Saturday morning that led to a foot chase, struggle, and shooting.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman said Tuesday, after briefly hearing from attorneys on rescheduling the trial, that it made sense to move the trial back to August 28.

The move came after defense attorneys said they could not bring together all the experts they needed to defend Slager again in March.

Attorney Andy Savage said Tuesday he had one expert who was not available during the entire month of March.

The attorneys were told Monday to work together and find a time frame to retry Slager, and on Tuesday Savage said the two sides were split on dates in September. The defense favored starting before Labor Day while prosecutors wanted to wait until after the holiday.

Judy Scott, Walter's mother, said on Monday she wanted the retrial to happen as soon as possible.

But the date of the retrial, Newman said, is hardly set in stone.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson told Newman there was a concern with the new Donald Trump administration that the Department of Justice would be instructed to stop the federal cases against Slager and other police officers around the country.

After the hearing, Wilson called it an off-the-cuff remark that's "out there" as a possible scenario the federal court may have to deal with this spring.

If that's the case, Newman told attorneys he would schedule another hearing to discuss moving up the retrial.

Last November, after five weeks of testimony and days of deliberations, a jury said it could not reach a decision in the murder trial.

Since the deadlock, Wilson says she has met with six or seven jurors who gave her insight into their thinking. Of that group, she says all but one juror reached out to the solicitor to discuss the case.

"I feel invigorated by their comments," Wilson said, adding the jury was disappointed they could not carry out their charge completely and render some kind of verdict.

The group of 12, made up of 11 white jurors and one black foreman, tried several times to reach a verdict, including once after claiming to be impossibly deadlocked but agreeing a little more time could sway the group.

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