Judge Bumps Mehserle Change of Venue Hearing

Key witness is sick

By Bob Redell
|  Friday, Sep 25, 2009  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Judge Bumps Mehserle Change of Venue Hearing

Someone caught the fateful night via cell video.

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Alameda Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson has denied Johannes Mehserle’s request to delay his change of venue hearing but did push the date back by a few days because a key witness is sick.

Former BART cop Mehserle is accused of murdering unarmed passenger Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale Station on New Year’s Eve.

His attorney, Michael Rains, wanted the hearing moved from Oct. 2, until late November because their 80-year-old expert witness has fallen ill.

The judge said no when he realized that there was no guarantee the man would have recovered by then and delayed the hearing until Oct. 6 so they could prepare their backup expert.

The expert will testify about the amount of media coverage surrounding the Mehserle case.  The defense argues the trial should be moved out of town because it will be difficult to find a jury that isn’t already biased.

Rains admitted during Mehserle's preliminary hearing in June that Mehserle killed Grant but claimed that it was "a tragic accident" because Mehserle meant to use his Taser device but instead fired his gun by mistake.

Outside the courtroom, Oscar Grant’s uncle and community activists accused the defense and prosecution of colluding to delay the start of the trial for as long as possible.

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