Mehserle attorney: 'I think the jury was confused'

Johannes Mehserle has said he was reaching for his Taser, but mistakenly used his gun and fatally shot Grant.

July 11, 2010 5:53:55 PM PDT
The attorney for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle is once again having to defend his client. During the murder trial, defense attorney Michael Rains was prohibited from speaking publicly about the case. But he can talk now, and he is, about the outcome of the trial and his client's apology.

Rains his client would like to apology directly to the family, but the attorney says now is not the time. The letter released last week was aimed at the public, not the family. Rains says Mehserle wanted to hold a press conference, but the verdict made that impossible. So the attorney suggested Mehserle write a letter instead.

Oscar Grant's family thinks he should have apologized directly to them months ago.

"Just like he faked a cry on the stand, he's sending out a fake letter to the public," said Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson.

"You know what, I don't think that when the family remains that hostile and that nasty and mean-spirited that Mr. Mehserle should be out there offering olive branches because they will not be received," said Rains.

Rains says he is disappointed with the involuntary manslaughter conviction. He wants the judge to throw it out or grant a new trial. He says the verdict is not consistent with the evidence, and believes it is impossible to have arrived at involuntary manslaughter and the gun enhancement at the same time -- they are mutually exclusive because involuntary means without intent to fire a gun.

"I think the jury was confused, I think they were frankly in a hurry to issue a verdict and get out of the courthouse," he said.

Grant's family is also unhappy with the verdict for entirely different reasons, and is pinning their hopes on a federal civil rights investigation.

Rains believes a federal case is "highly unlikely or altogether impossible."

"I think the federal government, frankly, is jumping on what I'm going to call a publicity bandwagon," Rains said. "They don't want to act indifferent or inattentive to concerns of members of the public who think there should have been a conviction on murder grounds."

Rains will make his motions from throwing out the verdict and/or a new trial on the same day as sentencing, which was scheduled for Aug. 6, but has been postponed.


Load Comments