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Defense to Present Case in Trial of Officers Charged With Laquan McDonald Cover-Up

The trial continues Thursday for three Chicago police officers accused of conspiring to cover up the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Defense attorneys for Detective David March, Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney were slated to begin presenting their arguments, two days after the state rested its case against the men.

Prosecutors called seven witnesses in four days, looking to prove that the three filed false accounts of the October 2014 shooting to protect Jason Van Dyke, who was later convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the high-profile case.

Prosecutors allege that in the aftermath of the killing, March, Walsh and Gaffney falsified their reports and failed to interview witnesses who may have contradicted their version of events.

Conflicting Stories in Laquan McDonald Police Conspiracy Case

Once the prosecution wrapped up its case, defense attorneys tried to argue that they had failed to prove a conspiracy.

March’s lawyer James McKay claimed there’s no evidence the three officers – charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice in June 2017 – met before the shooting or communicated about the case after it happened.

But prosecutors argued in response that identical information in reports submitted by the three officers proves an effort to mislead or shape the investigation.

The judge rejected the defense’s request to throw out the case, allowing the trial to continue.

Defense attorneys will be presenting their case beginning Thursday.

Walsh and March are no longer on the force, while Gaffney has been suspended and remains on desk duty.

Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

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