Attorneys spar over Walter Scott’s drug use

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Court has adjourned for the day in the South Carolina trial of Michael Slager.

The fired white North Charleston patrolman faces 30 years to life if convicted of murdering Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist, in April 2015.

Court proceedings slowed Wednesday afternoon when, with the jury out of the courtroom, attorneys argued for nearly an hour over the testimony of a prosecution witness.

Cocaine was found in Scott’s blood in an autopsy, and forensic toxicologist Demetra Garvin interpreted the lab results. The prosecution wanted the defense instructed not to question whether Scott was a chronic cocaine user in cross-examination.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman asked Garvin if she could conclude Scott was a chronic user based on the autopsy result, his discharge from a job for drugs two years ago, and a marijuana arrest nearly three decades before that.

She said she could not, and the judge agreed that the defense could not raise the issue.

Garvin told the jury that Scott could have taken the cocaine anywhere from hours to perhaps days before the shooting.

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