Defense Rests in Fourth Freddie Gray Trial

     BALTIMORE (CN) — In a rare legal maneuver, the transcript of a Baltimore police officer’s testimony from his own Freddie Gray trial was admitted into evidence for the trial of his superior, whose defense rested Tuesday.
     Before Lt. Brian Rice’s defense team rested, Judge Barry Williams ruled that Officer William Porter’s statements made during the first trial related to the death of Freddie Gray could be admitted as evidence.
     Earlier in Rice’s trial, Porter was compelled by an order of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to testify as a state’s witness under partial immunity.
     During Porter’s testimony on Monday, the state limited its questioning to the fourth of six stops made by the police van in which Gray sustain a fatal spinal cord injury after being arrested by police on April 12, 2015.
     Due to the limited scope, Rice’s defense team was limited in their own line of questioning during Porter’s cross-examination. Rice’s team wanted to call Porter as its own witness, but Porter declined by way of a statement made by his attorney before taking the stand on Monday.
     Williams ruled that, along with the portion of Porter’s trial testimony requested by the defense, his cross-examination by prosecutors would also be admitted.
     The testimony focuses on the first and second stops made by the van, where officers were engaged in controlling the crowd that formed outside Gilmor Homes, a public housing complex in Western Baltimore where Gray was arrested.
     Crowd control is at the center of Rice’s defense. Defense attorney Chaz Ball said Rice’s concern about crowd control, Gray’s combativeness and the confined space of the van all lead to the decision not use a seatbelt during Gray’s transportation.
     The fourth day of Rice’s trial also included testimony by witnesses Dr. Matthew Ammerman and Dr. Jonathan Arden, both of whom testified to the nature of Gray’s injury.
     Rice, 42, declined to testify in his own defense on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
     Two of the charges Rice originally faced were dismissed. A charge of second-degree assault was dismissed Monday by Williams for lack of evidence, and prosecutors dropped a second misconduct charge before the trial began.
     Rice is the fourth officer to be tried in the 25-year-old’s death, which sparked outrage and violent protests in several Baltimore neighborhoods. The van driver Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero, one of Gray’s arresting officers, were both acquitted by Williams in bench trials in June and May, respectively.
     Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning and a decision will most likely be handed down by Williams next Monday.

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