First Danziger defendant asks for release on bond

Just two days after a federal judge threw out his conviction due to misconduct on the part of federal prosecutors, former New Orleans homicide Detective Arthur “Archie” Kaufman has asked to be released on bond pending a new trial in the Danziger Bridge shooting case.

Kaufman, accused of orchestrating a years-long cover-up after his fellow officers opened fire on unarmed civilians on Danziger Bridge six days after Hurricane Katrina, is the first of the five officers who had their convictions overturned to ask for his freedom.

Kaufman was the only one of the five allowed to remain free before trial in the summer of 2011. The others were accused in both the cover-up and the shooting itself, and they were all jailed after being charged.

They are also expected to ask to be released.

Sentenced to six years, Kaufman has been serving time at a low-security federal prison in Petersburg, Va.

A jury found him guilty of helping draft numerous fraudulent reports about the shooting, planting a gun, falsely arresting an innocent man for shooting at police, attempting to frame another shooting victim and making up fictional witnesses to bolster the police account.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt’s order overturning the convictions focused on the actions of federal prosecutors who commented anonymously online about Danziger and other federal cases, saying their actions amounted to “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct.”

In his bond request, defense attorney Stephen London — himself the target of one prosecutor’s anonymous online barbs — noted that Kaufman appeared for every hearing while previously out on bond. He also reported to prison as required.

“Having been granted a new trial, Mr. Kaufman, is now in the same position as he was when he was arraigned,” London wrote.

“Nothing has occurred between his first arraignment and today to indicate that Mr. Kaufman would be a flight risk or a danger to this community.”