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On day Will Smith is remembered, shooter’s lawyer goes on the offensive

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On Friday, the Saints remembered defensive end Will Smith with an event at the team’s practice facility, where former teammates, coaches, executives, and ownership gathered -- along with a large throng of fans. The lawyer representing the man who shot Will Smith chose that same day for the launching of an offensive against the charges Cardell Hayes currently faces.

Via Emily Lane of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, John Fuller has accused the New Orleans Police Department of misconduct. In a letter sent to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Fuller asked that the NOPD be removed from the case.

The letter reportedly explained that Fuller has “a grave lack of faith in the honesty and competency” of the investigation. The letter cites unspecified “factual misstatements from high-ranking” officials of the police department.

“Every homicide in New Orleans deserves a fair, thorough and complete investigation, and that is what we are doing in this case,” NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said in denying the request, according to Lane. “We will continue to follow the facts wherever they take us.”

Fuller also filed a request to compel the presence of former Saints running back Pierre Thomas and former NOPD Captain Billy Ceravolo at the April 28 preliminary hearing. Fuller contends that they have “pertinent information” about the events before and after the shooting.

Likewise, Fuller co-counsel Jay Daniels made a successful request in court on Friday for the preservation of surveillance video from various establishments, including The Penthouse Club and Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. Peter Thomson, the lawyer representing Will Smith’s family, criticized Hayes’ lawyers for making the request during Smith’s public memorial ceremony.

Fuller said the evidence will prove that Hayes is “legally not guilty,” and that the evidence “will go to the ultimate true narrative of this case.”

In an email to Ben Myers of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Thomsen said that the contentions are “absolutely false but not unexpected,” and that Fuller is a “desperate defense attorney who, as before, is frantically trying to mislead everyone and distract from the fact that his client murdered Will Smith in cold blood and intentional shot Will’s wife.”

Although Fuller has yet to public cite the law, it’s clear that he will rely on Louisiana’s “stand your ground” statute in arguing that Hayes committed a “justifiable homicide.”