Opening statements given in historic trial of Sheriff Louis Ackal

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KLFY) – Day one of the historic trial of Sheriff Louis Ackal is in the books and there haven’t been any fireworks here at the federal court building in Shreveport.

Sheriff Ackal and his defense attorney John McClendon, sat at the table across from six federal prosecutors, including prosecutor Mark Blumberg.

In a leaked recording, Ackal threatened to shoot Blumberg between the eyes, during what his attorney referred to as “a fit of rage.”

As fifty potential jury members piled into the small courtroom, most of the morning consisted of Judge Donald Walter explaining to the potential jurors what the sheriff is on trial for.

The judge also asked if potential jurors were capable of rendering a verdict based on the facts of this case with prejudice based on anything not presented in the courtroom.

Court broke for lunch around 12:20, that’s when we asked sheriff Ackal and his attorney about their thoughts thus far.

The sheriff gave no official statement but appeared to be in good spirits.

When court resumed at 2 p.m. the prosecution gave their opening statements that lasted about 40 minutes.

The prosecutor spoke about the incidence of alleged beatings of pretrial detainees on April 29, 2011.

He also brought up accusations of Iberia deputies targeting people in the Hopkins Street area.

The defense’s opening statements lasted about 10 minutes.

McClendon spoke to the jury about the credibility of the witnesses that the prosecution would call.

He called it “paycheck prosecution,” meaning that the witnesses will be granted freedom or a lesser time for their testimony, which is legal.

The court went into recess at 5 p.m. and will resume Tuesday at 9 am.

Judge Donald Walter says the trial should last a five to seven days.

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