CHARLESTON, S.C., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The prosecution in the murder trial of Michael Slager attempted to portray the former North Charleston, S.C., police officer as a liar, while his defense criticized the quality of the investigation into the shooting death of Michael Scott.
Levi Miles, a private investigator for David Aylor, Slager's former lawyer, testified on Monday about his work on the case. In 2015, after Scott's shooting, Miles re-enacted the fatal confrontation with Slager during an interview by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED.
In Slager's interview with investigators, in which Miles and Aylor were present, Slager said he and Scott engaged in a physical altercation that resulted in Scott taking Slager's Taser. Slager then said Scott came after Slager, which prompted the officer to shoot Scott in self-defense.
However, prosecutors argued, video that emerged after the initial interview did not show Scott running toward Slager but running away. Slager fired eight rounds, five of which struck and killed Scott.
"That part of it seemed to be a lot different," Miles said during testimony, referring to Slager's account, which appears to contradict video evidence showing Scott running away -- not toward.
Slager's attorney has said the cellphone video of the shooting is misleading because it doesn't fully show the events from the officer's point of view. The defense argued the video is out of focus and fails to show the acts leading up to the shooting.
Slager's defense objected to Miles testifying, arguing since Miles was working as Aylor's employee then Miles' testimony would violate attorney-client privilege. The judge allowed Miles to take the stand after more than an hour of deliberation.
The defense also presented the argument the state poorly carried out the investigation over Scott's death. The defense, led by Andy Savage, criticized SLED agent Angela Peterson, whose responsibility it was to gather the deepest knowledge in the case. Savage asked Peterson why testing wasn't done on the Taser after a judge ordered a pause in examinations that could jeopardize trace evidence on the device. Savage cross-examined Peterson for an hour and a half, challenging the agent's credibility, recollections and decisions during the case.
Slager is facing a murder charge in the death of Scott, who was shot while fleeing from Slager after a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 4, 2015. Slager faces from 30 years to life imprisonment if convicted.