NEW YORK - Jury selection in the trial of 10 prison officers accused of beating an inmate at Rikers Island in 2012 faced a delay Wednesday when the judge ordered an attorney for the victim to keep mum on the proceedings until the case's conclusion.
The judge issued a gag order to defense attorney Sanford Rubenstein, whose client, Jahmal Lightfoot, accused seven corrections officers and three correction department supervisors in the assault.
The defendants in the case, Eliseo Perez Jr., Gerald Vaughn, Michael Pollard, Alfred Rivera, Tobias Parker, Jose Parra, David Rodriguez, Jeffrey Richard, Dwayne Maynard and Harmon Frierson, are facing 53 charges including attempted gang assault in the first- and second-degree, tampering with physical evidence and falsifying business records.
Despite the charges, all of the defendants recently returned to work with full pay and benefits, according to published reports.
Lightfoot was being held in Rikers for robbery charges when he allegedly got into a fight with the officers. The fracas resulted in Lightfoot losing vision and some teeth. He says the encounter left him facially disfigured.
Lawyers for the officers claim their actions were self-defense because Lightfoot was carrying a blade, but prosecutors say no such weapon was recovered.
Further pre-trial hearings are expected next Tuesday. Jury selection will take place after that.