Karl Thompson petitions for new trial




Posted on August 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 31 at 6:36 PM

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SPOKANE-- Former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson petitioned a judge for a new trial on Friday, ten months after being convicted in federal court of using excessive force and lying to investigators. The charges are connected to the 2006 death of Otto Zehm.
The defense filed two motions hoping for an acquittal or a new trial.

Thompson's attorneys tried to poke holes in the government's case claiming they kept information hidden that could have been in Thompson's favor.

Thompson's defense team alleged the government did not disclose expert witness opinion. They argued that the prosecution retained FBI academy instructor Grant Fredericks, a forensics video analyst. Fredericks produced a report on the video showing Thompson using his baton.

Fredericks did not believe the baton strikes happened when the prosecution claimed they did, argued the defense.

Fredericks also said the quality of the video could have been distorted, and hard for the average person to determine when the baton strikes actually happened according to the defense. Fredericks said an expert would have to make that decision.

The defense claimed the FBI knew their witness didn’t agree with their theory, and didn’t inform the defense. Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich argued, "People were misled" by the prosecution.

The defense questioned the fairness of Thompson’s conviction, and whether justice was delivered.

Oreskovich said Fredericks believed his report was in turn "fabricated" by the FBI, calling it "inaccurate."

The prosecution claimed it was their right not to call Fredericks as a witness and they never suppressed any information.

The prosecution said Fredericks changed his story of the baton video, and blamed his inconsistencies for not using Fredericks as a witness.

The government argued they had other expert witnesses that would talk on the same subject matter, but were only allowed to have a certain number of witnesses.

Defense attorneys alleged several jurors considered outside information when convicting Thompson.

The three jurors in question deny any misconduct.

The judge did not make any decision Friday.