The trial of Trung Le, the only person arrested in this summer’s mass shooting on Bourbon Street, has been continued until Feb. 23.
Le, 21, was scheduled to be tried Dec. 1 on one count of attempted murder and one count of manslaughter.
Prosecutors moved for a continuance Friday, saying several of their witnesses wouldn’t be able to travel from out of town in time for the trial.
Laura Rodrigue, the lead prosecutor in the case, said the state intends to call witnesses from as far away as Australia to testify.
Le’s defense attorneys opposed the continuance, arguing that the law requires the state to identify the witnesses and disclose the substance of their testimony if their absence is the basis of a continuance.
Rodrigue countered that the state is permitted to withhold the names of witnesses if divulging their identities could jeopardize their safety.
Ad hoc Criminal District Court Judge Calvin Johnson, filling in for Judge Julian Parker, who is ill, ruled in favor of Rodrigue.
Gary Wainwright, one of Le’s attorneys, said the continuance was an attempt by the District Attorney’s Office to delay trying a weak case.
“They can’t bear the burden of truth. They can’t stand the embarrassment of losing this case,” he said.
“I guess who will be embarrassed at the end of the day, the jury will decide,” Rodrigue shot back.
Both sides have stipulated during earlier hearings that Le was one of two gunmen involved in the June 29 shootout in which nine people were injured and 21-year-old Brittany Thomas was killed.
Le’s attorneys have claimed their client shot in self-defense after the other gunman drew his weapon and pointed it at Le and his friends.
The exchange was captured on video surveillance.
The second shooter has yet to be identified or apprehended. He has been described by witnesses as a black man dressed in kitchen worker garb.
Bullets from the second shooter’s .40-caliber handgun killed Thomas.
Le is being held on $250,000 bail.
Wainwright said the defense had subpoenaed 39 witnesses for the Dec. 1 trial date.