Kevin Roper’s lawyer argues his client’s “guilt or innocence” in fatal wreck has been decided at “an awards show”
While Tracy Morgan was enjoying a standing ovation from Hollywood’s biggest TV stars at the Emmys on Sunday, the lawyer representing the Walmart truck driver who plowed into a car transporting the former “Saturday Night Live” star over a year ago was crafting a statement advocating for his client’s “constitutional rights.”
“This is exactly what happens when a prosecutor and a judge allow the victims to dictate what’s important and control the proceedings,” Kevin Roper’s attorney, David Jay Glassman, Esq., said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Clearly the last thing on the mind of the Middlesex County prosecutor and the New Jersey Federal District Court Judge that permitted Morgan’s civil case to proceed was Mr. Ropers constitutional rights, including the right to have his guilt or innocence decided in a courtroom as opposed to an awards show.”
“While the violations of Mr. Roper’s rights continue unabated, clearly Mr. Morgan’s monetary reward has been realized and his personal as well as professional recovery is well underway,” Glassman continued. “Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about my client, who awaits indictment, while his constitutional rights have been discarded in favor of a punchline.”
Morgan took the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday to present the Emmy for Best Drama Series, which went to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
“God bless all of you and your love and your prayers, positive thoughts over the past 15 months,” the comedian said. “I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days. When I finally regained consciousness, I was ecstatic to learn I wasn’t the one who messed up.”
Although the National Transportation Safety Board found Roper responsible for the crash, the truck driver filed for a dismissal of the charges of assault by auto and death by auto, according to legal documents obtained by TheWrap earlier this month. He previously pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Investigators concluded in August that Roper, from Clayton County, Georgia, had been awake for 28 hours prior to the accident. They also said that Roper was traveling at 65 MPH prior to the accident, and could have prevented the crash if he had been driving 45 MPH, the speed limit where the crash occurred. Roper’s truck was traveling between 47 and 53 MPH when it collided with the limo, investigators said.
In the court documents filed at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey, Roper claimed that he won’t get a “fair trial” or “impartial jury” because of the “extensive national media coverage” surrounding the incident.
Morgan settled a lawsuit against Walmart in May. The conditions of the settlement were confidential.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.