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Lead prosecutors speak out on Freddie Gray case

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2018-12-31 14:56:27-05

It took just minutes yesterday to end what was a 14 month fight.

But after one hung jury and three acquittals, the lead prosecutors in the Freddie Gray case decided as long as the accused officers chose a bench trial, there was no path forward for a conviction.

"We have to accept the fact that this is a judge, he is finding facts, he is finding them on this particular basis. It is not likely that he is going to start making different decisions and we have to take that into account," said Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow.

It was the same sentiment we heard from his boss yesterday, that part of the reason this prosecution failed was because the verdict came from the bench.

Schatzow also lamented the right for a defendant to choose a bench trial in Maryland.

"I don't know if lament is the right word. I do think it is fair to point out, in the state of Maryland it is up to the defendant and the defendant alone," he said. "If you walk across the street and you are in the federal courthouse, the prosecutor and the judge both have to agree that a jury trial could be waived."

Schatzow said there is no way to tell if a jury would have found guilt but that it was a possibility.

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He and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe disagree with what Judge Barry Williams ruled in these cases and they too stand by their theory even as they dismissed the charges.

But why Wednesday?

Schatzow said it was simply the right time. He beat back speculation that newly assigned prosecutors were uncomfortable moving forward with trying Officer Garrett Miller or William Porter amid immune testimony concerns.

"I am not gonna go into the details of what each prosecutor felt in a day by day basis. Lisa Phelps was part of this prosecution team from the very beginning, she remains a part of this prosecution team. Everybody has moments when they question the witness, they question a legal theory, they question something else and for us to start talking about what our work product conversations are is just not conducive, it is not how we run this office," Schatzow said.

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