A defense witness called in the trial of former Tulane football player Trent Mackey said he pointed the finger at Mackey after police told him Mackey had already thrown him under the bus.
Mackey, 23, has been charged with armed robbery with a firearm and criminal conspiracy to armed robbery. The charges stem from a July 12, 2012, robbery that the defense says was poorly investigated and pegged on Mackey, while prosecutors have argued that Mackey orchestrated.
The state called Robert Murray to testify Thursday morning. He has already been convicted in the case, but when Murray’s intent to invoke the Fifth Amendment was revealed, the trial stalled as the state sought a higher court opinion.
After hours of waiting, Criminal District Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson delivered a message from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal: Murray would not be able to invoke the Fifth Amendment because he had testified in his own defense at his trial.
Murray’s attorney, Martin Regan, argued with Landrum-Johnson and said he would advise his client to remain silent. But Landrum-Johnson insisted the court ruling meant he did not have that privilege.
“This is not the law of our state or country,” said Regan, as the two continued arguing.
Shortly thereafter Landrum-Johnson held Regan in contempt of court and gave him 24 hours in Orleans Parish Prison — which he immediately appealed.
Murray was ordered to testify and took the stand in his orange parish prison jumpsuit.
Murray said police told him that Mackey had pinned the crime on him.
“Since he made a lie on me I made a lie on him,” Murray said.
When asked to explain the lie Murray said “that [Mackey] set up the robbery.”
The robbery in question occurred in the 600 block of Broadway Street one year ago. Megan Wales, a Tulane student and co-worker of Mackey’s, planned to sell him marijuana and the two were in Wales’ apartment to exchange the goods.
That’s when things went wrong.
Wales testified yesterday that after Mackey took a phone call he returned to the apartment but did not lock the door. When Wales got up to lock the door two intruders broke in, pinning Wales to the ground with a gun to her head.
According to Wales they took her laptop, cell phone, purse and the marijuana and she chased them after they fled her apartment.
Murray said he drove two men to the location, but waited in the car as they went inside to get the weed. His reward for bringing them there: a small portion of the purchase.
He said the men came out of the apartment, but he never saw a girl come out chasing them. Murray said he had no idea an armed robbery was taking place.
The defense called Megan Wales late Thursday.
Defense lawyer Rick Kelly focused on inconsistencies in testimony from the state’s star witness. On Wednesday, Wales said she called 911 immediately upon recovering her phone from the robbers. But on Thursday, after viewing phone records, she said she had indeed called Mackey three times before calling 911.
Kelly also called Mackey’s father, Trent Mackey Sr., to testify on behalf of his son Thursday.
“He’s a good kid and he don’t deserve this,” said Mackey Sr.
Landrum-Johnson recessed the court after the defense rested its case.
The trial will continue with closing arguments Friday.