Lawyers: Bullet was switched at Sirhan's trial (Associated Press)
Wednesday November 30th, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers representing convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan argue in newly filed court documents that a bullet was switched in evidence at his trial and new forensic details show he is innocent of the 1968 killing of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
In the latest of many appeals filed on behalf of Sirhan, the attorneys are seeking to overturn his conviction. They repeated a previous assertion and presented reports from experts who said Sirhan was programmed through hypnosis to fire shots as a diversion for the real killer.
Prosecutors had no comment, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the California attorney general's office, which is handling the appeal.
The lawyers, William F. Pepper and Laurie Dusek, also said sophisticated audio tests recently conducted on recordings from the assassination night show 13 shots from multiple guns were fired — five more than Sirhan could have fired from his small pistol.
Authorities have claimed eight bullets were fired, with three hitting Kennedy and the rest flying wildly around the kitchen and striking five other victims who survived.
Paul Schrade, who was struck by gunfire, refused to comment on the new filing, saying he is working on his own new analysis of the assassination.
Pepper and Dusek argue that before Sirhan's trial, someone switched a bullet before it was placed in evidence because the bullet taken from Kennedy's neck did not match Sirhan's gun. The lawyers suggest a second gun was involved in the assassination, but they do not know who fired it.
Pepper said the new evidence outlined in a 62-page federal court brief filed in Los Angeles is sufficient to prove Sirhan is innocent under the law.
"They put fabricated evidence into court before the judge and jury" Pepper told The Associated Press. "We are satisfied that for the first time in 43 years of this case we think we have the evidence to set this conviction aside,"