Monday Must Read

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The trial of Johannes Mehserle could hinge on whether the ex-BART cop takes the stand to explain why he fatally shot Oscar Grant in the back as he laid face-down on the ground, the Chron reports, citing criminal trial experts. Defendants often don’t testify in their own trials for fear that they may get tripped up during cross-examination by prosecutors. But Mehserle may need to explain his actions, particularly in light of video footage of the shooting.

2. Mehserle’s defense team, however, has won a series of key pretrial motions that could lessen the need for his testimony as opening statements get underway later this week, the Trib reports. Among the more pivotal rulings by the Los Angeles judge overseeing the trial was to allow an expert hired by Mehserle’s lawyers to explain his “interpretation” of the video footage to the jury. The judge also will let the defense introduce parts of Grant’s criminal history — even though Mehserle could not have known about that background before he shot Grant to death at close range seventeen months ago.

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