*Kevin Roper, 35, the Wal-Mart truck driver accused of causing the crash last year that injured comedian Tracy Morgan, and killed another man, is looking to dismiss the charges of assault by auto and death by auto, claiming that it’s impossible for him to get a fair trial due to all the media coverage and admissions given concerning the tragic incident.
The June 7, 2014 crash occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike when Roper crashed his tractor-trailer into a limo bus carrying Morgan, members of his entourage and comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, who died in the crash.
In court filings, Roper’s attorney, David Jay Glassman, claimed his client would not be able to get an “impartial jury” in light of the extensive media coverage, civil settlements in the case and a recent report on the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board, according to an ABC News report.
“No system of justice can rightfully call itself just – if it operates in an atmosphere where the state is unwilling to protect the accused who appears before them, prior to a jury trial,” the paperwork claims. “No accused can receive a fair trial, or any other due process requirements, if the criminal justice system under which an accused is tried leaves him at the mercy of the press.”
The federal safety board attributed the crash to driver fatigue, noting that Roper had not slept for more than 28 hours, in part because he drove 800 miles overnight from his home in Georgia to a Wal-Mart distribution center in Delaware before getting behind the wheel of the truck.
Morgan, who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the accident, settled a lawsuit against Wal-Mart over the crash earlier this year, as did McNair’s family.
Glassman told ABC News in a statement: “Mr. Roper had a right to have his case decided by a jury not a mob in the street fueled by media reports innuendo and speculation.”
In a previous statement about the settlement, Morgan’s attorney said: “Wal-Mart took full responsibility for the accident, which we greatly appreciate.” Roper’s attorney said that statement further hurts his client’s case.
Tracy Morgan is set to host “Saturday Night Live on October 17.