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Prosecution dissatisfied with new schedule for Freddie Gray cases

A new schedule of trial dates beginning in May for the Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray was formalized at a hearing Wednesday morning, where prosecutors expressed dissatisfaction with the new lineup.

The cases have been on hold since Officer William G. Porter's trial in December ended with a hung jury, as competing appeals reached the state's highest court. The trials are now scheduled to resume May 10, with Officer Edward M. Nero facing charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

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Deputy Chief State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe told Administrative Judge Charles J. Peters that prosecutors wanted the trials to resume with Porter's retrial first. Under the approved schedule, set by Judge Barry G. Williams in a closed-door meeting with attorneys Tuesday, Porter's retrial is the fifth case scheduled and will take place in September.

Bledsoe said Williams asked for Officer Caesar R. Goodson to go first, but his attorneys said an expert witness was not available then.

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In addition, Bledsoe and Michael Belsky, a defense attorney for Lt. Brian W. Rice, agreed that both wanted to move forward with Rice's case on April 13. That would have made his case first — and taking place around the time of the one-year anniversary of Gray's arrest and death — but their request was denied by Williams without explanation.

Belsky said Rice is suspended without pay and wants "the earliest possible trial date."

"No reason was given why we couldn't go forward," Bledsoe told Peters.

Following Nero's trial that begins May 10, Goodson is scheduled to be tried June 6, Rice will be tried July 5, Officer Garrett E. Miller will be tried July 27, Porter will be retried Sept. 6, and Sgt. Alicia White is slated for Oct. 13.

Porter, who took the stand in his defense, has been compelled to testify at the trials of all five fellow officers. Williams originally had rejected prosecutors' late request to compel Porter to testify against Nero, Miller and Rice, saying it appeared to be a stall tactic to tie up the cases in the appeals court and allow the original schedule to eventually resume. He was overturned by the Court of Appeals this month.

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