Judge denies motion to set aside Liang verdict

A judge ruled against setting aside the verdict for ex-NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed man in

Lawyers for Peter Liang, the former NYPD officer convicted of manslaughter in February, asked for a new trial.

Lawyers for Peter Liang, the former NYPD officer convicted of manslaughter in February, asked for a new trial. (4/14/16)

BROOKLYN - A judge ruled against setting aside the verdict for ex-NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed man in East New York.

The decision means Liang will not get a new trial, which his lawyers had requested.

Liang was convicted in February after he shot and killed Akai Gurley in a dark stairwell inside the Pink Houses in 2013. Gurley was unarmed and had no interaction with the officer beforehand.

Liang's attorneys argued last week that juror No. 9, Michael Vargas, had initially said that no one in his family had been accused of a crime. 

But after the verdict, Vargas told a newspaper that his father was sent to prison for accidentally shooting a friend to death. Liang's lawyers also raised concerns about Facebook posts that Vargas made that may suggest he has an anti-police bias. 

After that, the defense requested a new trial, and the judge Wednesday postponed Liang’s sentencing in light of the controversy.

Judge Danny Chu justified his rejection of the new trial by stating that it's conceivable that that father's imprisonment did not sway Vargas' decision in the trial.

Vargas testified that he was not raised by his father and hadn't seen him in almost 35 years.

The new date for sentencing is set for next Tuesday.

District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has recommended no jail time in the case.

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