BROOKLYN — Lawyers for ex-NYPD officer Peter Liang are pushing for a retrial and accusing a juror of lying about his father serving time in prison for manslaughter, according to a motion filed Tuesday.
Juror Michael Vargas, 62, who helped find Liang guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting unarmed Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn public housing stairwell, failed to disclose that his dad served more than seven years for accidentally shooting a friend, court papers read.
Vargas told the New York Daily News that his father served time in prison while Vargas was a child. During pre-trial selection he answered “no” when asked if any “close family” had been accused of a crime.
"I'm talking about close family or yourself," the judge clarified to Vargas when asking if the potential juror had close family accused of crime, according to the motion.
"No, no," Vargas responded.
Vargas told the News he was not aware at first that his father was in prison when he was a child and only found out later in life.
"I was not close with my father at all, I never lived with him," Vargas said in the interview.
But lawyers for Liang wrote that Vargas "lied knowingly" to try and get on the jury.
"When confronted with a question to which a truthful answer would have caused his disqualification, he first tried to avoid answering it," the motion read. "Rarely has a juror worked harder to keep the truth from being known."
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson recommended Liang serve five years probation and no prison time for his manslaughter conviction.
“Peter Liang received a fair trial and we will respond to the motion in court," said a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office Tuesday.