Prosecutors, Defense Spar Over Officers In Uniform At Trial

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Federal prosecutors and an attorney representing a fired Pittsburgh police sergeant accused of punching an intoxicated man outside Heinz Field in 2015 are sparring over whether other officers should be allowed to wear uniforms while attending the trial.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that defense attorney Tina Miller is accusing prosecutors of trying “to hijack” former sergeant Stephen Matakovich’s “constitutional right to a fair trial.”

Prosecutors filed a motion Thursday seeking to bar uniforms from the courtroom, saying “the presence of identifiable officers could unduly influence or intimidate the jury.”

Matakovich faces charges of deprivation of civil rights and falsification of a document. Miller held out the possibility that the government could ask witnesses to forgo uniforms while in court or on the witness stand.

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(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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