City of Pittsburgh attorneys on Sunday asked a federal judge to quiz jurors in a civil trial regarding a fired police detective's road rage incident whether their judgment might be affected by former chief Nate Harper's Friday indictment on unrelated criminal charges.
Last week the eight jurors heard the case of Jarret Fate, 32, of Squirrel Hill, who was choked and whose vintage Porsche was vandalized by then-detective Bradley Walker on May 1, 2010. Mr. Harper was originally a defendant but was dismissed from the case by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab at the end of the plaintiff's case.
Despite his dismissal, Mr. Harper was an important witness in the case, according to the motion by assistant city Solicitor Mike Kennedy.
Mr. Harper was indicted Friday on one count of conspiracy and four counts of willful failure to file federal tax returns.
"Because of the extremely negative recent publicity surrounding Nathan Harper, defendant requests that the jurors be assembled in court ... and questioned as to whether they became aware of any of the recent happenings with Nate Harper," wrote Mr. Kennedy. "Any juror who raises their hand should be further questioned at sidebar as to the circumstances under which they gained such knowledge, and any effect it would have upon them."
A member of Judge Schwab's staff said that the jury is deliberating.
Rich Lord: email@example.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.