Verdict Delayed in Laquan McDonald Conspiracy Trial
The judge handling the trial of three Chicago police officers accused of conspiring to cover up the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald has postponed her verdict in the case.
Cook County Associate judge Domenica Stephenson earlier this month had set a ruling date for Wednesday to announce her verdict in the trial of Chicago Officer Thomas Gaffney, former officer Joseph Walsh and ex-Detective David March. But on Monday it was announced that will no longer be the case.
Instead, a separate hearing will be held Wednesday morning at which time a future date to announce the verdict may be set. A reason for the change was not immediately clear and a spokesman for the special prosecutor’s team could not offer an explanation.
Special prosecutors and defense attorneys for the three men gave their closing arguments Dec. 6 following five days of testimony split over two weeks. Stephenson at that point said she planned to announce her finding by this week.
Gaffney, Walsh and March each face charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice, and are accused of falsifying official reports from the scene of the 2014 shooting in order to “conceal the true facts” of McDonald’s death in an attempt to shield fellow Officer Jason Van Dyke from prosecution.
The three men each opted for a bench trial in the case, meaning Stephenson, rather than a jury, will decide their fate.