Killer Cop Uses Jeff Sessions’ Memory Lapses as Defense

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia earlier this month, he stressed that he had “always told the truth” as he remembered it at the time.

“I’ve answered every question to the best of my recollection,” he testified in a closely-watched congressional hearing earlier this month.

Now, in an unrelated matter, a former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer is hoping that Sessions’ memory lapses will help him convince a judge to show some leniency as he awaits sentencing for fatally shooting an unarmed black man.

Federal prosecutors say Michael Slager lied repeatedly about why he fired eight rounds at Walter Scott’s back in April 2015, and that he should be punished with an enhanced sentence for obstruction of justice.

Slager’s defense attorneys disagree, and to bolster their argument, they’re citing Sessions’ appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 14.

In a federal court filing last week, Slager’s attorneys said the former officer had not, in fact, lied when he gave an ever-shifting account of the shooting during two years of investigations and court proceedings, at times contradicted by cellphone footage of the incident. Rather, they said, his memory had faltered under pressure.

“A Swiss cheese memory is a symptom of stress, not an indicator of lying,” Slager’s attorneys wrote, citing testimony from a medical expert.

To further illustrate the point, they quoted at length from Sessions’ testimony.

In the November hearing, Sessions acknowledged for the first time that he remembered a meeting where a foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, floated a possible meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He had previously said he didn’t think anyone from the Trump campaign had had communications with Russians.

Sessions blamed those and other lapses on the chaos of the Trump campaign, saying “my story has never changed.”

Slager’s attorneys saw a direct parallel.

“Unlike Slager, who had been in what he perceived a life and death struggle before he made his statements, Sessions had time to prepare for his Congressional testimony, yet still often got it wrong,” they wrote in their filing.

“Why? According to Sessions, he was working in chaotic conditions created by the Trump campaign,” they continued. “This was undoubtedly stressful, though not as stressful as having shot a man to death, or dealing with the aftermath of that, or facing the death penalty or life in prison. As Sessions made clear in his statement, a failure to recall, or an inaccurate recollection, does not a liar make.”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5619 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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