Attorney for former BART officer blasts Mehserle prosecutors 

The lawyer for former BART police officer Tony Pirone on Thursday blasted a prosecution motion that seeks to compel Pirone to testify at the upcoming trial of another former officer who shot and killed an unarmed passenger in Oakland early on New Year's Day 2009.

Former officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, is charged with murder for the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale station shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2009.

The motion, which was filed by Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Scott Jackson on May 4 but wasn't made public until this week, alleges that Pirone is hostile toward the prosecution and asked that an attendance hearing be conducted in North Carolina to have Pirone extradited to California if he fails to appear for Mehserle's trial.

Pirone's attorney, William Rapoport, said Thursday that the prosecution's motion is "premature" and "irresponsible" because Pirone voluntary accepted a subpoena from an inspector in the district attorney's office on Tuesday. Rapoport said Pirone also accepted a subpoena from Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains.

Pirone will appear voluntarily at Mehserle's trial and "is not hostile to either side," Rapoport said. He said Pirone still lives in
California.

Rapoport said he didn't learn about the prosecution's motion until it was reported on a local TV station Wednesday night.

"Why didn't they call me?" he said.

He said he believes prosecutors "are trying to smear my client all over the press without justification."

District attorney's spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said she can't comment on the motion or Rapoport's remarks because there's a gag order in the case.

Jury selection for Mehserle's trial, which was moved to Los Angeles County because of concerns about whether he could get a fair trial in Alameda County, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Rains has admitted that Mehserle shot and killed Grant but claims that the shooting was accidental because Mehserle meant to use his Taser gun but fired his gun by mistake. Mehserle resigned a week after the shooting and is free on $3 million bail.

Pirone and former Officer Marysol Domenici were the first officers to arrive at the Fruitvale station after the fight was reported.

BART fired Domenici in March and Pirone in April. Both are appealing their dismissals.

Rains included Pirone on his list of defense witnesses for Mehserle's trial but omitted Domenici. He called both Pirone and Domenici as defense witnesses, as well as other BART officers, at the preliminary hearing.

Rapoport said he thinks the prosecution's motion is fishy because it was filed in Alameda County Superior Court, not in Los Angeles County Superior Court, where Meherle's trial will be held.

Rapoport said he doesn't think Alameda County Superior Court has jurisdiction to handle the motion.

"I think the district attorney filed the motion in Alameda County Superior Court because they think they can get any judge there to sign anything they want," he said.

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