More than two years ago, federal prosecutors exchanged hugs and held hands with victims' relatives after a jury convicted five former New Orleans police officers of civil rights violations stemming from deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina.
But a judge threw out those convictions Tuesday and ordered a new trial for the officers, concluding the case had been tainted by "grotesque prosecutorial misconduct."
Romell Madison, whose mentally disabled brother, Ronald, was one of two unarmed people gunned down on the Danziger Bridge, said the family is "extremely disappointed" and urged the Justice Department to appeal the ruling.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said at least three government attorneys posted anonymous comments on a New Orleans newspaper's website, creating a "carnival atmosphere" that distorted justice.
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