Prosecutor in commuter-train shootings case seeks gag order on attorneys
NEW YORK — The prosecutor in the Long Island Railway shootings case asked for a gag order in early April, barring the defendant’s attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.
Peter Weinstein, a prosecutor with the Nassau County district attorney’s office in Mineola, argued at a hearing before Nassau County Court Judge Donald Belfi that Colin Ferguson’s attorneys, William Kunstler and Ronald Ruby, were trying to “manipulate the media and poison the prospective jury pool by issuing an avalanche of statements,” the Associated Press reported.
Kunstler told the AP that statements he made concerning his client’s pre-existing mental condition were an attempt to give Ferguson “a level playing field” and that several public officials, including President Clinton have commented on the case to Ferguson’s detriment.
Ferguson is accused of opening fire and shouting racial remarks on a commuter train in December, killing six people and wounding 19. Kunstler has said that Ferguson’s actions were a response to “black rage” caused by a mental disorder.
Judge Belfi took a leave of absence due to a death in the family in early April and was expected to rule on the gag order April 22.
(People v. Colin Ferguson)