NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn judge convened a special hearing Wednesday in connection to the trial of former NYPD police officer Peter Liang.
Liang, a 28-year-old rookie police officer, was convicted of manslaughter in the 2014 stairwell shooting death of Akai Gurley in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses. He was also dismissed from the police force.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson recommended that Liang not serve any prison time.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, a juror has been accused of hiding key information during jury selection.
Attorneys for Liang called for a new trial on claims that a juror – Michael Vargas, 62 – was lying when he told the court none of his relatives had been accused of a crime.
The juror recently revealed that his estranged father had served seven years in prison for manslaughter in connection to an accidental shooting, 1010 WINS Juliet Papa reported.
In a published interview following Liang’s guilty verdict, Vargas mentioned his father’s conviction.
Defense attorneys also said that in a 2014 Facebook post, Vargas said police officers are not being held accountable for violence. They say it suggests a broader motive for his willingness to lie to get on the jury.
Vargas later said he did not think about his father’s conviction during the time he was questioned for jury selection and that he was estranged from his father and did not consider him a close relative, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Judge Danny K. Chun will listened and will determine if Vargas’ actions warrant a new trial and the conviction tossed out, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported. According to legal experts, Chun may have no choice but to toss out the conviction and order a retrial depending on the proceedings.
The hearing is set to resume on Thursday, when Liang was scheduled to be sentenced. The sentencing hearing has been postponed to April 19.