Judge: No reason to change trial date for Michael Slager

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Former North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager was in court Tuesday morning for a hearing on the status of the state murder trial.

The hearing was to determine whether two highly publicized trials will begin in Charleston within a week of each other in courtrooms just across street. Despite potential time conflicts, Judge Newman refused to reschedule Michael Slager’s trial.

Slager’s state trial begins October 31st. Dylann Roof’s federal trial starts a week later on November 7th. Attorney Andy Savage represents Slager and the families of the Emanuel Shooting, and he may not be available for them during Slager’s trial.

9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson says, “The victims have relied on Mr. Savage and his firm throughout this process and he’s been a great help to even us on the Roof matter, so for him to not be available to them could be an issue.”

Jury selection in Dylann Roof’s state trial is set for December 6th, less than 2 weeks after Slager’s trial is expected to wrap up, a tight turnaround for Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.

She says, “Preparation for jury selection takes some time for us and if jury selection in the State v. Roof trial is not moved, it’s going to be taxing on us to get out of the Slager case and move into the Roof case. That’s going to be a challenge, but if we have to do it we’re going to do it. “

She says this doesn’t even factor in possible overlap for hearings in both cases. But there is no definite conflict with the two trials, so the attorneys didn’t file a formal motion, and the judge did not change the trial date.

Judge Clifton Newman says, “Nothing that I’ve heard thus far gives me any basis to change that day-certain date.”

He calls the possible schedule conflicts “moving targets” that are impossible to plan around because the federal government could make changes at any time.

Judge Newman says, “If some other trial is ongoing at the time, then another trial will be ongoing, obviously, and parties can’t be in two places at one time.”

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